Revival and Religion Since 1700: Essays for John Walsh

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Revival and Religion Since 1700: Essays for John Walsh


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Published by The Hambledon Press 1993 102 Gloucester Avenue, London NW1 8HX (U.K.) P.O. Box 162, Rio Grande, Ohio 45674 (U.S.A.) ISBN 1 85285 093 0 © The Contributors 1993 A description of this book is available from the British Library and from the Library of Congress

Typeset by The Midlands Book Typesetting Company Printed on acid-free paper and bound in Great Britain by Cambridge University Press




John Walsh







Wesley and the Counter-Reformation Eamon Duffy



Shaftesburian Enthusiasm and the Evangelical Revival Isabel Rivers



Mysticism and Revival: The Case of Gerhard Tersteegen W.R. Ward



Charity, Custom and Humanity: Changing Attitudes towards the Poor in Eighteenth-Century England Deborah Valenze



Knock-Kneed Giants: Victorian Representations of Eighteenth-Century Thought B.W. Voting



Edward Irving: Prophet of the Millennium Sheridan Gilley



Gladstone, Evangelicalism and 'The Engagement' Colin Matthew



Religious Revival and Political Renewal in Antebellum America Richard Carwardine



Architects in Connexion: Four Methodist Generations Clyde Binfield




10 Cemeteries, Religion and the Culture of Capitalism Thomas W. Laqueur


11 The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914: A Preliminary Sketch Raphael Samuel


12 The 'Golden Age' of New York City Catholicism Hugh McLeod


13 The Christian Socialist Revival in Britain: A Reappraisal David M. Thompson


14 Hastings Rashdall and the Renewal of Christian Social Ethics, c.l 890-1920 Jane Garnett




List of Subscribers



John Walsh (photo: Deborah Elliott)


'Elder B. changing clothes before the Ladies, after immersing!', from W. G. Brownlow, The Great Iron Wheel Examined (Nashville, 1856). By kind permission of the Methodist Center, Drew University


Family tree of the Pococks


A Labourer's Cottage and a Cottage Orne by W. Fuller Pocock


The Metropolitan Tabernacle (1861) by William Willmer Pocock



John Walsh


John Walsh is one of the best-known historians of religion of his generation. When he began writing in the 1950s, the history of religion tended to be seen either as an aspect of church-and-state high politics, or as denominational history, usually written apologetically. John was at the forefront in insisting that the history of religion was an integral part of history as a whole. 'Religious history' should not be written as a discrete or polemical exercise but as an aspect of political, social and intellectual history. Historians working in those latter fields should recognise, in turn, the degree to which the character of a society is shaped by religious movements and by theology as a crucial part of the contemporary mentalite. His has been a two-fold ministry: instructing secular historians in a dimension which they were neglecting; and religious historians in the need to see beyond parti-pris particularism. This eirenic approach has proved fruitful and influential. Staking out the ground in his famous Cambridge thesis, 'The Yorkshire Evangelicals in the Eighteenth Century: With Especial Reference to Methodism' (1956), John Walsh has subsequently argued his case in a series of authoritative articles, culminating in his Birkbeck Lectures of 1987, soon to be published as a book. His influence has also been felt through the many theses which he has supervised. An exceptionally committed and stimulating supervisor, John has, together with his pupils, helped to open up new perspectives on a wide range of British and American eighteenth- and nineteenth-century religious history. John Walsh's approach has reflected the ambivalence of the Methodist tradition in which he was brought up. Critical, sometimes sharply, of the Establishment, he has also always stressed the importance of the Anglican evangelical tradition both in theology and in politics. From a constructive critique of Halevy, he has gone on to elucidate the subtle relationship between Methodist, Anglican and Dissenter. He has forcefully attacked reductionist interpretations of the social and psychological roots and impact of Methodism. His work has deepened understanding of the complexity of nonconformists' attitudes both to the Establishment and to their own theological inheritance. In asserting the need to take theology seriously, John Walsh has found himself cutting across both the sociologists of religion and the neo-Marxists. He has not, however, seen any need — as some of his Cambridge generation did — to seek as an alternative an assertion of public religion as a good in



itself. Characteristically, he was an early supporter of History Workshop in its purpose of fostering a radical and engaged history. When that society held a major conference on Religion and Society in 1983, it was particularly appropriate that the resulting publication should have been dedicated to him.1 John Walsh's position has been that of a true historian: a personal position, clearly defined, rooted and demonstrated, but never absolutist or dismissive in its claims. His wide range of personal friendships and historical sympathies testify to a profound humanity, which is the outstanding quality of his work as historian and as tutor. For him, these roles have never been distinct. All those who know him recognise how quickly a conversation with him becomes — in the best possible sense — a tutorial which broadens and develops the mind. From this rare gift, which John Walsh has so widely and generously bestowed, all the contributors to this volume, whether colleagues or pupils, have benefited. They offer this book to him as a mark of their affection and respect on his retirement from teaching at Jesus College, Oxford.

J.G. CM.

1. J. Obelkevich, L. Roper, R. Samuel, ed., Disciplines of Faith: Studies in Religion, Politics and Patriarchy (London, 1987).


Clyde Binfield

University of Sheffield

Richard Carwadine

University of Sheffield

Eamon Duffy

Magdalene College, Cambridge

Jane Garnett

Wadham College, Oxford

Sheridan Gilley

University of Durham

Thomas W. Laqueur

University of California at Berkeley

Hugh McLeod

University of Birmingham

Colin Matthew

St Hugh's College, Oxford

Isabel Rivers

St Hugh's College, Oxford

Raphael Samuel

Ruskin College, Oxford

David M. Thompson

Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge

Deborah Valenze

Barnard College, Columbia University

W.R. Ward


B.W. Young

Jesus College, Oxford


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1 Wesley and the Counter-Reformation Eamon Duffy

John Wesley detested Roman Catholicism. He thought that in pursuit of its own interests the Catholic Church would not hesitate to 'burst all the ties of truth, justice and mercy', and he believed that no government — whether it be 'Protestant, Mahometan or Pagan' — should tolerate Roman Catholics. In the wake of the First Catholic Relief Act of 1778 he publicly identified himself with the ferociously anticatholic Protestant Association, whose activities were to culminate in the notorious Gordon Riots in 1780.1 Yet till the last few years of his life Wesley was convinced that the two greatest saints of modern times were Roman Catholic laymen. These were Gregory Lopez, an eccentric Spanish hermit who died in Mexico in 1596, and Gaston de Renty, a French nobleman best known for his philanthropic and religious activities, and in particular for his part in the development of a sort of seventeenth-century Opus Dei, the powerful secret society of wealthy devout lay people known as the Company of the Blessed Sacrament. Wesley edited versions of the standard biographies of both these men for the edification of his Methodist followers, and de Renty is probably the religious figure most often referred to in his letters and published writings. In 1758 he claimed that the life of De Renty by the French Jesuit, J.B. Saint-Jure, was his favourite book.2 Wesley's interest in and admiration for the piety of the Counter-Reformation, despite his detestation and distrust of Roman Catholicism as a system, has received its fair share of scholarly consideration. John Walsh himself has emphasised the crucial influence of De Renty on Wesley's thinking about the poor. In particular there has been a good deal of interest in the mystical dimension of Wesley's Roman Catholic reading, and on his knowledge of figures on the fringes of Counter-Reformation mysticism, like Madame Guyon.3 But the 1. J. Wesley, Letters, ed. J. Telford, 8 vols (London, 1931), vi, p. 371. 2. J. Orcibal, 'Les Spirituels franc.ais et espagnols chez John Wesley et ses contemporains', Revue de I'histoire des religions, 139 (1951), p. 53. 3. John Walsh has emphasised Wesley's indebtedness to De Renty in his thinking about the poor in his unpublished paper 'Wesley and the Poor'. The fullest treatment of Wesley's indebtedness to Counter-Reformation patterns of piety is by M. Schmidt in Theologia viatorum, v (1953): Schmidt focuses largely on the 'mystical' aspects of the devotional writers he considers. Some of the same ground is covered, from a rather broader perspective, in Orcibal's 'The Theological Originality of John Wesley and Continental Spirituality', in R. Davies and G. Rupp, ed., A History of the Methodist Church in Great Britain (London, 1965), i, pp. 83-111.



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shifting and paradoxical character of his preoccupation, by turns admiring, wistful and censorious, with the saints and devotional writers of a church which he considered in most ways barely Christian, has not had the attention it deserves. In what follows, I want to try to explore that complex relationship a little more fully than has so far been done. Wesley did not need to 'discover' most of his Roman Catholic devotional models for himself: many of them he certainly found on the bookshelves at Epworth rectory. They were an established part of the edifying reading of his parents' generation, in circulation in both the high-church and Puritan milieus which came together in them. Despite the universal hatred and fear of Catholicism which provided the central political energies of the Stuart age, Catholic books in English were freely available, particularly after the Restoration. They were in demand well outside the narrow circle of Recusancy. Through them the mainstream of Counter-Reformation devotion was familiar to Protestants. The most obvious example here is the Introduction to a Devout Life of Francois de Sales, translated into English within four years of its first appearance, which rapidly gained almost as great a following among Protestants as among Catholics. It was available in two translations in at least nine separate editions in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, it was also the single most profound influence on the spirituality of Jeremy Taylor, whose Holy Living and Holy Dying represent the Salesian mode rendered into an English and Protestant idiom.4 In the second half of the seventeenth century other French Catholic spiritual writers also gained widespread currency in England: Jansenism exerted a strong fascination, and Pascal, in his reflective as well as his combative moods, was widely known. At the end of the century the 'Quietist' writers, Fenelon and Madame Guyon, became something of a Protestant cult in England as elsewhere, having a profound and on the whole destructive influence on an emergent school of half-baked Protestant mysticism. But the Counter-Reformation was felt in England not only through devotional treatises like the Introduction to the Devout Life, or Jansenist and Quietist writings. Counter-Reformation hagiography, too, made its mark. In 1682 Gilbert Burnet prefaced his account of the Protestant 'saint', Sir Matthew Hale, with a discussion of modern hagiography, in which he assumed that his Protestant readers would be familiar with English translations of two recent Catholic examples. These were Antonio Gallonio's The Holy Life of Philip Nerius, which Burnet thought superstitious and unreliable, full of lying miracles, trances and visions, and Saint-Jure's Holy Life of Monsieur de Renty, which Burnet by contrast thought 'writ in another manner' for a 'more awakened and better enlightened' age, and full of 'so many excellent passages' that De Renty was 'justly to be reckoned amongst the greatest patterns that 4. E. Stopp, 'The Influence of St Francis de Sales in England', pt i, Salesian Studies, iii (1966), pp. 26-46; E. Duffy, 'Richard Challoner and the English Salesian Tradition', Clergy Review, Ixvi (1981), pp. 449-55; idem, 'The English Secular Clergy and the Counter-Reformation', Journal of Ecclesiastical History, xxiv (1983), pp. 214-30.

Wesley and the Counter-Reformationn


France has afforded in this Age'.5 He was not alone in valuing De Renty's life: in the same year William Penn's expanded second edition of No Cross, No Crown contained a long series of extracts from De Renty's letters as reproduced in Sheldon's biography, with the comment that the quotations abundantly proved De Renty to be 'a man of an enlightened mind, and of a soul mortified to the world, and quickened to some tastes of a supernatural life'.6 The Lives of Neri and De Renty had appeared during the last years of the Commonwealth, and both had deliberately sought, and found, a Protestant readership.7 Edward Sheldon, the Catholic translator of the life of De Renty, self-consciously commented on the religious pluralism of Cromwellian England when he justified his retention of those aspects of De Renty's piety which were offensive to Protestants: 'I thought it better', he wrote, to let them alone, than, by cutting them out, both to give occasion to those who allow such things, to blame the omission; and to those who disallow such things, to suspect them to be more, or of worse consequence than they are. Especially, when these may serve to provoke you, whoever think your selves more illuminated, to a Pious jealousie: whilst you consider, that if he arrived at so high Christian Graces and Perfection, supposed by you to be darkened with some Errours, how much you ought sooner to attain the same, as enjoying more truth . . .8

Like Burnet, Sheldon sought in the life of his subject a 'pattern' for imitation, a provocation to 'Pious jealousie'. The titles of both his book and Gallonio's Neri talked of their subject's 'Holy Life', for the age increasingly valued examples of what Richard Baxter's friend Peter Ince called 'laborious holynesse', an 'active and busy religiousnesse'.9 There were those, of course, who thought that such examples should be taken only from pure sources, and that Protestants would be well advised to turn their backs on Romish exemplars. Protestants in mid and late seventeenthcentury England had their own hagiographers, and the best known of them, Samuel Clarke, had set himself deliberately to rival and excel the papist biographers of 'their Rome-canonized Saints', most of whom were 'but Ignes fatui that led men into the Boggs of Errour, or blinde leaders of the blinde'. He considered that of all the churches of the Reformation the Church of England had 'through God's great mercy' most abounded with true saints. His own series of hagiographical collections were designed to 5. G. Burnet, The Life and Death of Sir Matthew Hale (London, 1682), unpaginated preface. 6. W. Penn, No Cross No Crown, ed. N. Penney (London, 1930), pp. 448-53. 7. Antonio Gallonio, The Holy Life of Philip Nerius (Paris, 1659): J.B. Saint-Jure, The Holy Life of Monsieur de Renty, a late Nobleman of France, and sometimes Councellor to King Lewis the 13th (London, 1658). 8. Edward Sheldon's unpaginated preface 'To the Reader' in Saint-Jure, Holy Life. 9. N.H. Keeble and Geoffrey Nuttall, Calendar of the Correspondence of Richard Baxter (Oxford, 1991), i, p. 88: Ince was discussing Baxter's The Saints' Everlasting Rest.


Revival and Religion since 1700

provide sound patterns for Protestants seeking holiness — 'We must eye them for imitation, we must look upon the best, and the best in the best'.10 It is an indication of a profound reorientation within Protestant theology from the mid-century, however, that despite their contempt for and suspicion of popish superstition and excess, post-Restoration Protestants could look for this 'laborious holynesse' even, perhaps in fact especially, in the members of a church which their pre-Civil War forefathers had consistently denounced as no true church, but the filthy synagogue of Satan.11 In the 1671 preface to his awakening tract Now or Never Richard Baxter reflected on the 'great question whether serious diligence in a corrupt religion will save a man'. He concluded that it would, and went on to draw an extraordinary parallel between the persecuted nonconformists of Restoration England, and the members of St Philip's Oratory in sixteenth-century Rome, who had also been suspect and persecuted by the authorities, which shall shew you, that even among the Papists, holy serious diligence where it is, hath the same usage from the prophane . . . as in other places, and so that every where Holinesse is persecuted . . ,12

Baxter had based his parallel on Gallonio's Neri, though he was careful to dissociate himself from 'the many fabulous stories in that and such other books': what is striking about his treatment of Neri, however, is the revealing observation that 'even among the Papists' holiness might be persecuted, as if Baxter expected his readers to assume that Roman Catholics set a higher value on holiness than Protestants. By the end of the century, inheritors of the Puritan tradition of Clarke and Baxter thought nothing of bracketing Protestant and Counter-Reformation saints together for those seeking 'the best in the best'. In February 1692 the recently appointed archbishop of Canterbury, John Tillotson, himself a product of the Puritan tradition, wrote to Matthew Sylvester, then at work on a 'life' of Richard Baxter which was to appear as an edition of Baxter's own autobiographical papers, theReliquiae Baxterianae. Tillotson commended as models to Sylvester William Hinde's life of the Cheshire Puritan John Bruen, John Fell's life of the high churchman Henry Hammond, and Cotton Mather's life of John Elliott. To these he

10. Samuel Clarke, A Collection of the Lives of Ten Eminent Divines (London, 1662), sig. A2-3 'To the Candid Reader'; P. Collinson, 'A Magazine of Religious Patterns': An Erasmian Topic Transposed in English Protestantism', Renaissance and Renewal in Christian History (Oxford, 1977), pp. 223^9. 11. The literature on seventeenth-century anti-Catholicism is now vast: a start can be made with C. Hill, Antichrist in Seventeenth-Century England (London, 1971); P. Christiansen, Reformers and Babylon (Toronto, 1978); K.B. Firth, The Apocalyptic Tradition in Reformation Britain, 1530-1645 (Oxford, 1979); R. Clifton, 'The Popular Fear of Catholics during the English Reformation', Past and Present, lii (1971), pp. 23-55; P. Lake, Moderate Puritans and the Elizabethan Church (Cambridge, 1982), esp. chaps 4, 6; John Miller, Popery and Politics in England, 1660-1668 (Cambridge, 1973). 12. R. Baxter, Now or Never (London, 1671), p. 29 (my emphasis).

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added the lives of De Renty and of Philip Neri, which, like the others, 'greatly instruct and move as they are read'.13 Protestants might congratulate themselves on the 'honest Impartiality and Freedom of Temper, and Love of Piety wherever it is found' which lay behind such catholicity of reading tastes, but they also worried about the advantage papists might reap from circulating among Protestants devotional works which spoke 'so feelingly to the Conscience and with such an extraordinary concern for the Souls of men'. From such reading unwary readers might form 'a pretty good Opinion of a very bad Religion'. William Nicholson, offering the public an expurgated edition of The Introduction to a Devout Life in 1701, surveyed the history of medieval and Counter-Reformation devotion, a sad tale of growing enthusiasm culminating in the 'Bedlam Divinity' of St Teresa and the Spanish mystics, packed with incredible stories and unintelligible cant. But he commended the 'soberer Divines' such as Thomas a Kempis, Cardinal Bellarmine and above all Francois de Sales. Such books he thought should be available in sound Protestant editions which 'purge them of the Idolatrous, and Superstitious Errors which usually go along with them'.14 This ambivalence towards the piety of the Counter-Reformation informed Wesley's parents' reading. In the 1690s Samuel Wesley was so far from sharing Nicholson's worries about the corrupting effect of papist piety that he considered the best possible dissuasive from popery would be to make available more Catholic devotional material, since so much in the 'Devotions of the Roman Church appear so ridiculous to them that are not born superstitious'. He singled out for particular ridicule the life of St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, the Florentine nun whose trances, violent erotic temptations and extravagant devotional gestures epitomised everything Protestants most loved to hate in Counter-Reformation Catholicism.15 Yet Samuel Wesley shared the regard for the life of De Renty which we have already encountered in Penn and Tillotson, and declared that he could wish that De Renty's life 'were in more hands, were everybody able to sift the superstition from the devotion'. With less ambivalence Susanna was an enthusiast for an number of Catholic religious writers, introducing her children to such classics as Castaniza's Spiritual Combat, as well as to Pascal's Pensees.16 John Wesley therefore inherited an active interest in Counter-Reformation spirituality, and a willingness to find even in popery examples of heroic virtue and true devotion. He was also familiar with the Introduction to a Devout Life 13. N.H. Keeble and G.F. Nuttall, ed., Calendar of the Correspondence of Richard Baxter ii, p. 328. 14. W. Nicholson, An Introduction to a Devout Life . . . Translated and Reformed from the Errors of the Popish Edition: To which is prefixed a Discourse of the Rise and Progress of the Spiritual Books of the Romish Church (London, 1701). The Discourse, from which the quotations come, is unpaginated. 15. S. Wesley, The Young Students Library, containing Extracts and Abridgements of the most Valuable Books Printed in England and the Foreign Journals . . . By the Athenian Society (London, 1692), p. 120; V. Puccini, The Life of the Holy and Venerable Mother Suor Maria Maddalena de Patsi (n.p., 1619). 16. J. Barber, Strange Contrarieties: Pascal in England during the Age of Reason (Montreal, London 1975), pp. 181-82, 195.


Revival and Religion since 1700

in Nicholson's edition, with its preliminary discourse on Catholic devotional writing. He inherited, too, the traditional Protestant ambivalence about the Counter-Reformation heroes and heroines. Like his father, he saw in the life of St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi the Roman system at its least attractive. Reflecting on Puccini's life of the saint in 1762, he concluded that papist hagiographers 'did not scruple lying for the church, or for the credit of their order', that many of the Virtues' of Roman saints 'were really no virtues at all, being no fruits of the love of God or man, and no part of the mind that was in Jesus Christ', and that what was really good and commendable in their lives 'was so deeply intinctured with enthusiasm, that most readers would be far more likely to receive hurt than good from these accounts of them'.17 This ambivalence is evident even in his attitudes to figures he admires. Wesley was intrigued by the early Jesuits, and on his missionary voyage to Georgia had taken with him one of the classic early-modern missionary documents, an edition in four volumes of the letters of St Francis Xavier. Xavier certainly captured his imagination. In 1772 he told Hannah Ball that I was never more struck than with a picture of a man lying upon straw with this inscription, 'The true effigy of Francis Xavier, the apostle of the Indies, forsaken of all men, and dying in a cottage.' Here was a martyrdom, I had almost said, more glorious than that of St Paul or St Peter!18

Yet only a few years earlier, commenting on the expulsion of the Jesuits from Paraguay he had declared I am not persuaded, that the Romish Missionaries (very few excepted) either know, or teach, true, genuine, religion . . . Perhaps the most religious that ever was among them, was their 'East India Apostle', Francis Xavier. And from his own letters (four volumes of which I had) it plainly appears, that (whether he knew it himself or no) he never taught one tittle of the religion of the heart, but barely opinions and externals.19

But whatever Wesley's reservations about Jesuit missionaries or ecstatic nuns, certain Counter-Reformation figures seem to have won his wholehearted admiration and to have remained of central importance for him throughout his life. Of these the Marquis de Renty was certainly the most important. It was in all probability his father who introduced him to Saint-Jure's life of De Renty sometime before 1725, by which date Wesley, preparing himself for ordination, was copying parts of his father's Advice to a Young Clergyman, which recommends Saint-Jure's biography. The piety of his Oxford phase was very much nourished by exemplary lives such as Kidder's life of Horneck or the life of Ambrose Bonwick, most of them pietistic exemplars of the ascetical 17. J. Wesley, Letters, i, 1721-1739, ed. F. Baker [volume 25 of the Oxford edition of. Wesley's Works] (Oxford, 1980), p. 158. 18. Wesley, Letters, ed. Telford, v, p. 320. 19. Ibid., v, p. 121.

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high-church piety represented by Robert Nelson and the early S.P.C.K. But above any of these Wesley came to value the very different life of De Renty. He was annotating and making excerpts from it in May 1729, and through his influence it became standard reading for the Oxford Methodists.20 He took it to Georgia with him in 1738, making on the voyage an abridgement of it, which he later published for the benefit of his Methodist followers. It was to remain his most-quoted book for the rest of his life. Given its established place in devout Protestant circles as the best of the modern lives of the saints emanating from the ardent and practical piety of the French and Italian Counter-Reformation, this is readily understandable, but its particular attractions for Wesley are worth noting. Many of De Renty's attitudes and activities were bound to strike a chord with Wesley and have often been noted. De Renty's charitable activities on behalf of the poor, his promotion of religious societies and organisations among the tradesmen and artisans of Paris, Toulouse and elsewhere, whose members lived in community, ate, worked and prayed together, 'calling each other Brothers and living together in the strictest unity and concord', captured Wesley's imagination and were to fertilise his own work. Once again, this was a family inheritance: John's father Samuel had invoked De Renty's societies as models in his Letter Concerning the Religious Societies, while in the Cambridge University Library copy of Wesley's abridgement of the life of De Renty there are annotations by a member of the Wesley family: against the account of De Renty's societies the annotator has written 'Like my uncle John's Methodist Classes'.21 Important as De Renty's example as champion of the poor and organiser of devout and charitable societies was for him, this was not the real nub of Wesley's life-long preoccupation with Saint-Jure's life of De Renty. In the 1730s, when Wesley's fascination with the book really established itself, he himself was engaged in a struggle for a living experience of religion, a direct knowledge of God and a sense of His presence which eluded him. He shared this search with his mother, in this as in so much else his mentor and stimulus. That search was to draw him to the mysticism of William Law and his circle, among whom French quietist writings circulated freely. In January 1734 Susanna wrote to John about her own search for just such a sense of the divine presence: For my part, after many years search and inquiry, I still continue to pay my devotions to an unknown God. I cannot know him. I dare not say I love him — only this, I have chose him for my only happiness, my all, my only 20. R.P. Heitzenrater, ed., Diary of an Oxford Methodist (Durham, NC, 1985), pp. 14, 34, 26, 37, 38. 21. J. Wesley, An Extract of the Life of Monsieur de Renty, a late Nobleman of France (2nd edn, Bristol, 1746); Cambridge University Library shelf-mark Syn.8.74.1, p. 43; G.V. Portus, Caritas Anglicana (London, 1912), p. 24. For Wesley's own communitarian convictions, see John Walsh, 'John Wesley and Community of Goods', in K. Robbins ed., Protestant Evangelicalism: Britain, Ireland, Germany and America, c. 1750-c. 1950: Essays in Honour ofW.R. Ward (Oxford, 1990), pp. 22-50.


Revival and Religion since 1700 God . . . And when I sound my will, I feel it adheres to its choice, though not so faithfully as it ought . . . That God is everywhere present, and we always present to him, is certain; but that he should be always present to us is scarce consistent with our mortal state. Some choice souls, 'tis true, have attained such a habitual sense of his presence as admits of few interruptions.22

John's reply to this letter makes it clear that for him De Renty was just such a 'choice soul', to whom the coveted sense of the abiding presence of God had been granted. Wesley was currently glamourised by the personality of Westley Hall, one of his own converts and his future brother-in-law, destined to jilt one Wesley sister, to marry another and scandalise all who knew him by his eventual antinomianism and practical belief in polygamy. Hall, Wesley told Susanna, bating his idolatry and superstition, is the very picture of Mr de Renty: he breathes the same spirit in every word and look. Almost every hour we are together I am utterly astonished at his humility, and love to God, and to man for his sake. Every day I am apt to imagine he has finished that course which the wisdom of God hath allotted to man in this period of his being . . . Verily this man is (in a sound sense) the great power of God. O may I be a follower of him, as he is of Christ.23

The 'idolatry and superstition', of course, is De Renty's, not Hall's, and as we shall see, much in De Renty's Catholic piety puzzled or outraged Wesley. But despite it, De Renty is already for Wesley the paradigmatic case of a Christian who has attained perfection in this world, and with it a sense of living and unbroken intimacy with God which Wesley was to long for all his life. His naive, hungry infatuation with Hall is one of the earliest of many, as he sought among his acquaintances living evidence that the assurance he sought for himself could be had, and was enjoyed by others. Three years earlier, offering spiritual advice to a woman friend troubled by wandering thoughts and desires in prayer he had written that I never heard or read of more than one living person (Mr de Renty) who had quite shook off this weight, and much doubt whether of the sons of men now alive there be one who is so highly favoured.24

He was to go on hoping against hope that at last he had encountered a living example of the pattern of perfection he found in the pages of Saint-Jure's biography. In his preface to his translation of Saint-Jure, Sheldon specifically presented De Renty as one who 'practised the rules of perfection in a secular and married condition', one who walked 'in the midst of those flames, which set on fire so 22. Wesley, Letters, ed. Baker, i, p. 364. 23. Ibid., i, pp. 372-73. 24. Ibid., i, p. 319.

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many hearts, without being singed at all'. But it was the practice of perfection itself in which Wesley saw De Renty's spiritual intimacy with God, not merely in the extraordinary devotional regime which De Renty followed. The focus of Wesley's attention appears to have been the accounts De Renty gave of his own interior state, rather than his activities, important as they were to Wesley also. He seized on the passages in which De Renty spoke of his permanent state of union with God, and frequently quoted them. One passage in particular fascinated him, in which De Renty declared: I bear in me ordinarily (but with many infidelities so great in all this, that I am about to speak of, that I write it not without regret, because I am nothing but vice and sin:) I bear, I say, in me ordinarily, an experimental verity, and a plenitude of the presence of the most Holy Trinity . . . which elevates me by a simple view to God, and with that, I do all that the Divine Providence enjoins me . . . and so I possess by his grace, in all Things, silence of Spirit, a profound Reverence, and solid Peace.25

Significantly, in quoting this passage, Wesley qualifications about his own sinfulness, and own abridgement altogether. But the passage a touchstone of spiritual perfection. Writing to 1776 he asked her:

never included De Renty's he edited them out of his as a whole became for him Hester Anne Roe in January

Tell me, my dear Hetty, do you experience something similar to what Mr de Renty expresses in those strong words: 'I bear about with me an experimental verity, and a plenitude of the presence of the ever-blessed Trinity? Do you commune with God in the night season? . . . And does he make your very dreams devout?26

Of Elizabeth Ritchie in August 1777 he demanded: Do you feel faith's abiding impression, realizing things to come? Do you live in eternity and walk in eternity? And do you still (as Mr de Renty says) 'carry about with you an experimental verity and a fulness of the presence of the ever-blessed Trinity?'27

In 1771 writing to an Irish correspondent about the depiction of 'the height and depth of perfection' in I Corinthians 13 he declared De Renty 'an excellent pattern of this', but added that 'many things in his fellowship with God will not be explained till the Holy Spirit explains them by writing them on your heart'.28 Wesley was convinced that Hester Roe and Elizabeth Ritchie had

25. Wesley, Extract, p. 5; Saint-Jure, Holy Life, pp. 28-29. 26. Wesley, Letters, ed. Telford, vi, p. 222. 27. Ibid., vi, p. 270. 28. Ibid., v, p. 268.


Revival and Religion since 1700

indeed attained to De Renty's exalted state, but as he aged he became in general less optimistic about rinding De Renty's experience replicated in the hearts of others. He told Lady Maxwell in August 1788: Mr Charles Perronet was the first person I was acquainted with who was favoured with the same experience as the Marquis de Renty with regard to the ever-blessed Trinity, Miss Ritchie was the second, Miss Roe . . . the third. I have as yet found but a few instances; so that this is not, as I was at first apt to suppose, the common privilege of all that are 'perfect in love'.29

Very understandably in view of the sexual scandal which overwhelmed him and brought misery to Wesley's sister, Westley Hall has been edited out of the select gallery of those who shared De Renty's immediacy of communion with God: but it seems equally clear that Wesley himself did not claim to possess what he is here describing. There was much else in De Renty's spirituality, personality and behaviour which appealed to Wesley. Wesley's suspicion of what commonly passed for mysticism meant that he welcomed De Renty's freedom from dependence on affective experience, 'he relied not on any Thing that came to him in an extraordinary Way; resting neither on Visions, Miracles, Revelations, nor inward Motions, but solely on a pure and naked Faith, to carry him to God'.30 At a lower level, De Renty's restless activism, his amateur medical practice and his personal social austerity also struck chords with Wesley. De Renty's habit of conversing while standing elicited bitter complaints from his friend and spiritual client the Comtesse de la Chastres, to which he retorted that 'If we sat down, we should forget ourselves, and talk more than is necessary, and perhaps pass on to things unprofitable'. This shows more prudence in dealing with close friendships with women than Wesley was always master of, but reminds one irresistably of Dr Johnson's complaint that Wesley 'is never at leisure. He is always obliged to go at a certain hour. This is very disagreeable to a man who likes to fold his legs and have out his talk, as I do'.31 One element in De Renty's spirituality to which Wesley frequently returned in his advice to others shows him modifying his original in a striking way. On several occasions in De Renty's life Saint-Jure's biography shows him bearing personal calamity with Christian resignation, even with joy, particularly the death of children and the near-fatal illness of his wife. On the latter occasion, in 1643, those close to him commented on De Renty's composure, to which he replied that my Nature is deeply affected with a Sense of so great a Loss; yet my Spirit is filled with so wonderful a Joy, to see myself in such a state, as to give up, and

29. Ibid., viii, p.83. 30. Saint-Jure, Holy Life, p. 253; Wesley, Extract, p. 26. 31. Saint-Jure, Holy Life, p. 195; G.B. Hill and L.F. Powell, ed., Boswell's Life of Johnson (Oxford, 1934), iii, p. 230.

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rific e to my God, a Thing so near and dear to me, that if civility did not forbid it, I would give some publique Testimony of my Readiness thereto.32

Wesley faithfully reproduced this in his Extract, and returned to it again and again in counselling the bereaved. In his letters of counsel, however, De Renty's reply is invariably and fascinatingly brutalised. Quoting the passage to Lady Maxwell in 1769 Wesley makes De Renty say 'were it proper, I could shout and sing': using it to nerve Francis Wolfe against grief in 1775 he quotes De Renty's remark as 'were it not for offending others, I could shout and sing'. That the starker form in which he habitually remembered De Renty's remark sprang from some corresponding hardness in Wesley's own temperament is suggested by the brutality of his letter to the grieving Adam Clarke in January 1791: you startle me when you talk of grieving so much for the death of an infant. This was certainly a proof of inordinate affection; and if you love them thus all your children will die. How did Mr de Renty behave when he supposed his wife to be dying? This is the pattern for a Christian.33

There was much about Saint-Jure's life of De Renty which disgusted Wesley, and much about De Renty himself which disturbed him. Completing his abridgement in 1738, Wesley had commented O that such a life should be related by such a historian! who by inserting all, if not more than all the weak things that holy man ever said or did . . . and by his injudicious manner of relating many others . . . has cast the shade of superstition and folly over one of the brightest patterns of heavenly wisdom.34

Wesley took the opportunity in the Extract he made of Saint-Jure's book to eliminate 'superstition and folly' — De Renty's youthful bolt from home in an attempt to become a Carthusian, his dislike of Protestantism, his passionate devotion to the saints, especially St Joseph, are all omitted, though his austerities — fasting, sleeping in his boots, refusing a fire in winter and the like, are allowed to remain. Such 'corrections' were inevitable, and relatively straightforward. Wesley had a more difficult task in dealing with De Renty's prayer-life. Saint-Jure's De Renty was an important member of the Berullian school of French devotion: his spiritual director was Berulle's great Jesuit disciple, Charles de Condren. As with Condren, devotion to the Infancy of Jesus was the centre of De Renty's personal spirituality, and his writings and utterances on prayer are saturated with the technical terminology of the school of Berulle, with its emphasis on 'nothingness', 'littleness', and the adaptation of those concepts within the context of devotion to the Divine 32. Saint-Jure, Holy Life, p. 270. 33. Wesley, Letters, ed. Telford, vi, pp. 199-200; viii, p. 253. 34. J. Wesley, Journal ed. N. Curnock, 8 vols (London, 1909-16), i, pp. 414-15.


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Child. Wesley evidently could think of no sensible way of adapting all of this for eighteenth-century England, and the chapters on De Renty's prayer-life and his devotion to the Child Jesus, and all specific uses of the Berullian language of 'littleness' and 'nothingness', are simply cut out. Where he has been less drastic, the sense nevertheless shifts: prayers addressed to the Holy Child Jesus have an altogether different resonance when the same prayer is made to refer merely to 'the Holy Jesus'. All this involved the amputation of some of De Renty's most important spiritual emphases, symbolised in Wesley's suppression of Saint-Jure's account of the paper on which De Renty had written in his own blood a characteristically Berullian self-offering: 'I give you my Liberty, O my God, and beg of you that Nothing, which every Christian must arrive at, to rise purely towards you.'35 Wesley's De Renty is therefore a cooler, less ardent, less complex and more laborious figure than the hero of Saint-Jure's book. His theology, too, has been Protestantised, as in the passage where Wesley modifies De Renty's dying speech. In Saint-Jure, De Renty dies declaring his orthodox Catholicism and renouncing the Jansenist and other heresies, saying — 'the perfection of a Christian life, is to be united unto God, in the faith of the Church: we ought not to entangle ourselves in novelties'. In Wesley's version, this becomes 'the Perfection of a Christian Life, is to be united to God by Faith. Let us not entangle ourselves in Novelties'.36 De Renty's place as a model of holy living was secure in English Protestantism before Wesley. The case is rather different with Gregory Lopez, who was never mentioned by either of Wesley's parents, and who seems to have been Wesley's own discovery. Lopez was a far more singular figure than De Renty. Born in Madrid in 1542 Lopez was briefly a page at the court of Philip II at Valladolid. A vocation to the eremetic life, however, drew him away from court, and he seems to have served a six-year apprenticeship to a hermit before ultimately setting out for New Spain in 1562. In Mexico, he gave away all his possessions to the poor and began a solitary life of ferocious austerity on a patch of land given by a pious local landowner. Miles from any community or church, he rarely went to mass, had no images in his hermitage, and used no external forms of devotion such as the rosary: inevitably, he fell under suspicion of heresy. His orthodoxy was vindicated, but he ultimately moved to Santa Fe for access to the sacraments, spending the last years of his life there in the company of a disciple, Francisco de Losa, who wrote a biography after Lopez's death in 1596. By 1620 the process for his canonisation was under way, the cause of his beatification being formally introduced in 1675. It was overtaken by the controversy over quietism, of which he was seen as a forerunner, and he was never beatified. Losa's life was available in two seventeenth-century English translations, the better and more accessible one

35. Saint-Jure, Holy Life, p. 76. 36. Ibid., p. 342; Wesley, Extract, p. 64.

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published in 1675. Wesley in all probability encountered him first in the 'mystical' circles of Law and Byrom, who much admired the quietists.37 Lopez was no philanthropist, pioneered no charities, founded no religious societies, and his stark, contemplative spirituality, based on hours of silent prayer and meditation on the Bible, was far craggier than that of De Renty. His attraction for Wesley is, however, not difficult to understand. Like De Renty, Lopez was one whom Wesley believed to have achieved Christian perfection, and who had therefore the privilege of an uninterrupted and unshakeable sense of the divine presence, and perfect assurance. Before making his communion at Santa Fe on one occasion Lopez presented himself for confession: and striking his breast [he] said, 'Through the Mercy of God, I do not remember to have offended him in any thing. Give me if you please, the most holy sacraments'. The priest in amazement asked, Ts it possible a man should have attained so high a degree of virtue, as not to be conscious to himself of even an idle word?' 38

It was a question that Wesley wrestled with all his life, and in Lopez as in De Renty he found reassurance that it might be so. In the version of Lopez's life which he prepared for his Methodist followers in 1755 Wesley included several extended passages on Lopez's perfection, and in one where Losa cites the scriptural passage that 'the just man falls seven times a day' as a difficulty in any doctrine of perfection, added a testy foot-note in support of Lopez's claims, and the possibility of perfection in general.39 The tranquillity of soul and fullness of assurance which flowed from perfection was just as crucial for Wesley. Losa recorded how on his death-bed Lopez's sense of loving union with God never wavered, despite excruciating pain: Seeing him suffer extremely, I said, 'Now is the time to think upon God'. 'And of whom should I ever think?' was his reply. When he was in the very pangs of death, I said, 'Are you now thoroughly united to God?' He answered 'Yes, thoroughly'.40

To emphasise this unwavering certainty, Wesley retells a story of Lopez's death-bed which was highly problematic for a Protestant. It was Catholic custom to place a blessed candle into the hand of a dying person as the moment of death approached. Losa offered Lopez the candle, with the words, 'Now is the time to go to see the Secret: will you have the candle?' This was an allusion to a story about King Alonso the Wise, who was reputed to have said on his 37. Francisco de Losa, The Holy Life of Gregory Lopez (2nd edn, n.p., 1675): there is a useful brief account of Losa by Q. Fernandez in Dictionnaire de spiritualite, ix (Paris, 1976), cols 995-99. 38. J. Wesley, Life of Gregory Lopez, in The Christian Library (London, 1826 edn), xxvii, p. 408. 39. Ibid., p. 431. 40. Ibid., p. 437.

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death-bed 'Give me the Candle, let us go see this Secret'. Lopez replied 'with a wonderful confidence', 'There is no secret, all is clear, and it is Noon-day with me'. Wesley was fascinated by this story, but could not tell it straight, since the candle was superstitious and the custom unknown to his readers. In his retelling the story is robbed of the 'witty' play on light which the candle in the original makes possible, and the didactic point, Lopez's assurance, is more insistently underlined. So in Wesley's version Losa offers not a candle, but a final blessing, with the words 'Behold the time of going to see the secret of the Lord', to which Lopez replies: 'All is clear; there is no longer any thing hid; it is full noon with me'. Plainly declaring, that the light which then shone on his soul, far surpassed that of the noon-day sun. And in this marvellous confidence, full of faith, hope and love, he gave up his spirit to God.41

Finally, though Lopez was a contemplative, and had attained through contemplation a permanent sense of the presence of God and of unity with him, he repudiated the affections and experiences conventionally associated with 'mysticism', declaring that Visions, Revelations, Extasies, and Rapts were not the top of Perfection, nor consisted it therein . . . since Souls that are perfect and expert in the Act of a pure, simple and perfect Love, need not any suspension of the Senses, for our Lord's communicating much unto them.42

Here was a mystic for the age of enlightenment: cool, rational, impatient of gush and idle chatter. Losa told how once, standing by the window, he had said to Lopez 'It rains hard', and put his hand outside the casement to feel, only to be struck by lightning. Lopez unsympathetically said, 'You are served right, since you speak words that are needless; for, I see that it rains hard'. On another occasion he told Losa something of importance which he had never mentioned before, 'a thing wherewith my soul was much edified'. When Losa asked him why he had never mentioned the matter before, Lopez replied, 'I speak not what I know, but what is necessary'.43 Wesley's heart warmed strangely to such a man: he was to use this story to explain his own reticence on at least one occasion.44 Yet there was much in the life of Lopez which Wesley found difficult. In August 1742 Wesley noted in his journal that he had been re-reading 'the Life of that good and wise (though much mistaken) man, Gregory Lopez'. His particular target on this occasion was Losa's report that Gregory had attributed his virtues to the merits and mediation of the Blessed Virgin. In fact, Wesley's conviction that Lopez was 'much mistaken' went 41. 42. 43. 44.

Losa, Holy Life, p. 95; Wesley, Life of Lopez, p. 437. Losa, Holy Life, p. 196. Ibid., p. 124; Wesley, Life of Lopez, p. 421. Wesley, Letters, ed. Telford, iv, pp. 265-66.

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deeper than any specific Roman doctrine: he found Lopez's whole eremetical life-style far more disturbing than any 'superstitious' belief. His abridgement of Losa's life of Lopez was published as part of the Christian Library in 1755, and subsequently serialised in the Arminian Magazine. It contains a running polemic in the form of footnotes against Lopez's retreat into the desert. So, against the passage in which Losa related Lopez's first search for a Mexican hermitage 'to pass his life there in the service of God', Wesley adds this: It is absolutely certain that this resolution is not to be justified on Scripture principles: And consequently, Lopez is not to be imitated in this; however God might wink at the times of ignorance.45 When Losa gave an account of the demonic temptations which assailed Lopez, he added that such temptations of saints in their solitude arose 'from the shame of that proud spirit [the Devil] when he sees himself vanquished by them'. Wesley contradicts this, acidly: 'No: but from their going out of the way which God has prescribed; therefore he permits Satan thus to buffet them.'46 There was therefore a continuing tension in Wesley's attitude to Lopez — on the one hand unqualified admiration, perhaps even envy, for the serenity of Lopez's faith, his apparent sinlessness and 'Christian perfection', his unbroken sense of unity with the Godhead, his general spiritual 'style': and on the other, a decisive rejection of his eremetic way of life. Like De Renty, Lopez enters Wesley's pantheon as a touchstone of spiritual attainment, as when he described someone as being 'as deep in grace as Gregory Lopez' or justified the blamelessness of his own life-style by declaring that there was nothing in it 'but what might become Gregory Lopez'.47 Yet disapproval of the solitary life is never far away. In August 1751 he encountered a clergyman from Bridgwater who 'spoke without reserve' about his spiritual experience, which was of 'a peculiar kind, much resembling that of Gregory Lopez'. However, Wesley notes approvingly: 'He soon determined to seek Christ for the time to come, not in a desert, but in the congregation of his people.'48 Characteristically, Wesley's disapproval sometimes wavered, for he could not help relishing the challenge to the comfortable and the well-to-do which Lopez's life-style offered: the Wesley whose early enthusiasm for 'Primitive Christianity' had led him to scrupulous self-examination, fasting and long hours of prayer was never wholly cast aside. In October 1755 he preached at Bath and dined 'with some serious people' in a large and stately house in a magnificent landscaped setting, a 'paradise' of 'ease, honour and elegant abundance' which they nevertheless described to Wesley as 'retiring from the world'. 'What would Gregory Lopez have called it?', he asked himself in recording the visit in his Journal.49

45. 46. 47. 48. 49.

Wesley, Life of Lopez, p. 391. Ibid., p. 393. Wesley, Letters, ed. Telford, v, pp. 25-26. Lesley, Journal, iv, p. 97. Ibid., iv, p. 138.


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Behind Wesley's disapproval of Lopez's retreat into solitude was a conception of the spiritual life as relentlessly active and social. In November 1774 he wrote a letter of spiritual counsel to Mary Bishop, who had told him that her spiritual progress was drawing her more and more towards a love of solitude. Wesley was emphatic that this was a temptation to be resisted. Suppose you have more faith and more love (as I would fain think you have), you certainly ought to go out more. Otherwise your faith will insensibly die away. It is by works only that it can be made perfect. In every age, he told her, and in every country, Satan has whispered to those who began to taste the powers of the world to come (as well as to Gregory Lopez) 'Au desert! Au desert!' This, he told her, had been his own temptation: Most of our little flock at Oxford were tried with this, my brother and I in particular. Nay, but I say, 'To the Bible! To the Bible!' And there you will learn, 'as you have time, to do good unto all men': to warn every man, to exhort every man as you have opportunity . . . The Devil here is clearly a Frenchman, but Wesley concludes the letter with an appeal to one of the greatest figures of the French seventeenth century, Fenelon. What his correspondent most needed, he considered, was 'simplicity, in the archbishop of Cambrai's sense of the word: that grace "whereby the soul casts off all unnecessary reflection upon itself" '.50 Simplicity of soul was something which Wesley himself struggled for, and was often accused of lacking: indeed, for all their striking differences, it is clear that for him what most characterised both De Renty and Lopez was their possession of a sense of resting on and in God which made their souls whole and at peace in simplicity, however outwardly busy (in Lopez's case, with the business of dying painfully) they might be. Saint-Jure quoted a letter of De Renty's in which he had written: For these three or four Months I have been, as it were, continually employed in outward Works . . . Yesterday hearing these Words of the Gospel read, 'Thou art troubled about many Things', it was said to my heart, 'Thou art not troubled about many Things', giving me to understand, that the things we are employed upon, according to the will of God, do not create in us that Trouble; and that Martha was not reproved for doing the Work, but for doing it too solicitously.51 Wesley clearly saw his own reflection in this passage, which he included in his abridgement of De Renty's Life. Whenever it was suggested to him that 50. Wesley, Letters, ed. Telford, vi, pp. 127-28. 51. Wesley, Extract, p. 58.

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business militated against spiritual simplicity, Wesley reacted by invoking De Renty and Lopez: [It is suggested that] 'Every one has some pursuit; therefore a man cannot be always in communion with God.' I deny the consequence. While Mr de Renty was serving the poor he was in constant communion with God. So was Gregory Lopez while he was writing books.52 It was clearly a matter of very direct personal concern, and one with which he had wrestled: he returns to it again and again. To a correspondent in 1777 he wrote: You do not at all understand my manner of life. Though I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry; because I never undertake any more work than I can go through with perfect calmness of spirit. . . there are few persons in the kingdom who spend so many hours secluded from all company. Yet I find time to visit the sick and the poor; and I must do it, if I believe the Bible, if I believe these are the marks whereby the Shepherd of Israel will know and judge His sheep at the great day . . . when I was at Oxford, and lived almost like a hermit, I saw not how any busy man could be saved. I scarce thought it possible for a man to retain the Christian Spirit amidst the noise and bustle of the world. God taught me better by my own experience.53 He goes on to the inevitable reference to Lopez, in this case a particularly apt one. Losa had told how he had himself gone to Lopez and told him of his intention to abandon his post as parish priest of Mexico City, to join him in eremetical seclusion. Lopez forbade him, with the injunction that he 'Remain this year a hermit at Mexico'. In attempting to live out this injunction, Losa experienced a profound and transforming conversion, and the story remained with Wesley as a perfect illustration of the spiritual peace in the midst of business which he himself aspired to. 'Was it not the same case with him to whom Gregory Lopez said, "Go and be a hermit in Mexico" \54 In this context Wesley liked to join with De Renty and Lopez a Protestant exemplar of tranquillity in the midst of activity. He had once met a former colleague of the pietist activist Anthony William Boehm, who had for many years been 'the principal manager of almost all the public charities in the kingdom', and the main link between the Halle pietists and England. Wesley's acquaintance told how he had asked Boehm, Sir, when you are in such a hurry of business, surrounded with a crowd of people, hearing one and dictating to another at the same time, does it not interrupt your mental prayer?

52. Wesley, Letters, ed. Telford, v, pp. 337-38. 53. Ibid., vi, p. 292. 54. Losa, Holy Life, pp. 217-22; Letters, Telford ed., vi, p. 292.


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to which Boehm had replied that, 'All that hurry no more hinders my communion with God than if I was all the time sitting alone in my study or kneeling at the altar.'55 This was certainly how Wesley wished to see himself, and to be seen, and it was this deep stability which he most prized in De Renty and in Lopez. That for Wesley the two outstanding exemplars of the spiritual virtues he most valued should be papists was certainly a matter of concern. He repeatedly insisted that only a bigot would refuse to honour and learn from sanctity in whichever church it was made manifest. When attacked by opponents like Bishop Lavington or James Hervey for favourable remarks about papists he was belligerently unrepentent: Oh, but Mr Hervey says you are half a Papist . . . What if he had proved I was a whole Papist? . . . Is not a Papist a child of God? Is Thomas a Kempis, Mr de Renty, Gregory Lopez gone to hell? Believe it who can.56

His most explicit statement about the need to bowdlerise saints' lives of offensive matter, 'cleansing Augeas's stable', is a reference not to Catholic hagiography, but to the Actes and Monuments of that 'honest, injudicious writer', John Foxe.57 Yet however much he might warn against bigotry, this dependence on papist exemplars for values so near the centre of his own conception of the spiritual life was an uncomfortable situation for one who disapproved as strongly as Wesley did of most of Catholicism. On his own acknowledgement, he waited much of his life for a Protestant exemplar to match them. As late as 1779 he could think of no more damning measure of Swedenborg's spiritual status than to observe that his visions of heaven were 'far inferior both in holiness and happiness to Gregory Lopez, or Monsieur de Renty'.58 Deliverance from this dilemma came in the form of John Fletcher, the Swiss Protestant who settled in England in the 1750s, became a close associate of Wesley's, and died in 1785 after an exemplary ministry as parish priest at Madeley. In Fletcher's gentle, passionate nature and fervent spirituality Wesley became convinced he had at last encountered a saint to match the best that the Counter-Reformation had to offer. Fletcher, he decided, had indeed attained the state of perfect love in which De Renty and Lopez had lived, 'his outward light shone before me with as bright a lustre as theirs', with none of the drawbacks or blemishes which their popery inflicted on them. Fletcher died in 1785 and, in his preface to the Life of Fletcher which he published in 1786, Wesley told how for many years 'I despaired of finding any inhabitant of Great Britain, that could stand in any degree of comparison with Gregory Lopez, or Monsieur de Renty'. But 'let any impartial person judge if 55. Ibid., v, pp. 337-38; vi, p. 292. 56. Ibid., see also, iii, pp. 328-29. 57. Wesley, Journal, iii, p. 507. 58. Ibid., vi, p. 231.

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Mr Fletcher was at all inferior to them', while for a Protestant Fletcher was a better exemplar than either of those 'burning and shining lights'. Sheldon, in the preface to his translation of Saint-Jure's Life of de Renty had declared that it 'became not the secrecies of a Confessor, nor the civility of a Friend', to 'discover' all the blemishes of the subject of a biography.59 Perhaps recalling that passage, Wesley wrote that: we are not assured that the writers of their lives did not extenuate, if not suppress, their faults. And some faults we are assured there were; namely, some touches of superstition, and some of idolatry, as the worship of images, angels, and saints . . . But I have not suppressed, or even extenuated anything in Mr Fletcher's life. Indeed, I know nothing that needed to be extenuated. After 'fourscore years' here was a man without rival, 'uniformly and deeply devoted to God', whose like Wesley had found neither in Europe nor America, 'nor do I expect to find another such on this side of eternity'.60 That Wesley so late in his career should choose to preface the life of his closest and most beloved disciple and collaborator with a debate about the merits of the lives of De Renty and Lopez is a striking testimony to their hold over his own imagination. More than a century before, Edward Sheldon had ironically urged Protestant readers of Saint-Jure's Life of De Renty to employ all their energies in the imitation of De Renty's virtues, 'lest perhaps Errour be said to bring forth more Piety than Truth'.61 Like Baxter and Tillotson, Wesley believed that sanctity crossed denominational boundaries, that the 'miserable bigotry, which is too often entailed upon us from our forefathers', should not blind us to the fact that 'the same Spirit works the same work of grace in men upright of heart, of whatever denomination'. However they differ in opinions, they all meet 'in the substance of true worship, the faith that worketh by love'.62 But there is no mistaking the sense of relief with which he greeted in Fletcher one who had experienced 'as deep communion with God, and as high a measure of inward holiness' as the popish saints who had been his touchstones of perfection since his childhood at Epworth, and his pursuit of Primitive Christianity at Lincoln College.

59. Saint-Jure, Holy Life, 'To the Reader'. 60. I have used the edition of the Life of Fletcher printed in Wesley, Works, 14 vols (London, 1872), xi, pp. 364-65. 61. Saint-Jure, Holy Life, To the Reader'. 62. Preface to his abridgement of 'The Lives of Various Eminent Persons . . . from Mr Samuel Clark', The Christian Library, xv, p. 4.

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Shaftesburian Enthusiasm and the Evangelical Revival Isabel Rivers

When the Dublin dissenting minister John Leland included a letter in his polemical View of the Principal Deistical Writers (1754) on the third earl of Shaftesbury, moral philosopher, aesthetician, and vehement critic of the Established Church, he was aware that he was dealing with a difficult case. He conceded that Shaftesbury's literary qualities — 'his lively and beautiful imagination', his 'delicacy of taste', 'the graces and embellishments of his style' — had won him many admirers, as had his sentiments on the beauty of virtue, providence, the natural difference of good and evil, and on man as a being formed for society, even for religion. But, he warned, as a result many of Shaftesbury's readers had become prejudiced in his favour and were prepared to accept whatever he put forward. Leland set himself the task of exposing the dangerous tendency of parts of Shaftesbury's collected essays, Characteristic!?*, and spelling out the meaning of his insinuations about Christianity.1 However, prejudice in favour of Shaftesbury was not to be so easily dislodged. For the second edition of Principal Deistical Writers (1755) Leland found himself obliged to provide another letter on Shaftesbury, in response to readers of the first edition who had objected to his inclusion among the deists. Leland saw no reason to retract his views, and insisted that Shaftesburian ethics, despite Shaftesbury's disclaimers, must lead to atheism.2 Leland's experience of the reluctance of some Christian readers to have Shaftesbury exposed as an anti-Christian writer illustrates particularly clearly the extent of disagreement that was possible in the mid eighteenth century about what Shaftesbury really meant. Unlike some more confident later critics who have claimed to find Shaftesbury easy to decipher,3 eighteenth-century readers could see the subtlety with which Shaftesbury's considerable rhetorical powers were employed, without necessarily being able to define the ends to which they were put. Those readers who were hostile often found Shaftesbury 1. J. Leland, A View of the Principal Deistical Writers that have appeared in England in the last and present Century . . . In several Letters to a Friend (4th edn, London, 1764), i, p. 49, letter v. 2. Leland, Principal Deistical Writers (1764), i, pp. 65-66, 76, letter vi. 3. E.g. T. Fowler, Shafteshury and Hutcheson (London, 1882), p. 62; R.L. Brett, The Third Earl of Shafteshury: A Study in Eighteenth-Century Literary Theory (London, 1951), p. 56. 22


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too slippery to pin down, while those who were friendly seem either to have read selectively or not to have been disturbed by the complexities of Shaftesbury's method and the tensions in his argument. Leland was not the first Christian apologist to attack Shaftesbury as a dangerous writer who was corrupting his readers, though such attacks tended to come from divines of the Established Church rather than dissenters. The two most important and substantial attacks were by divines of the Church of Ireland. The first, Berkeley's Alciphron (1732), is a detailed analysis of the varieties of contemporary freethinking in the form of a dialogue between two Christians, Euphranor and Crito, and two freethinkers, the sentimental Alciphron, a believer in natural religion and a follower of Shaftesbury; and the tough-minded Lysicles, an atheist and libertine, and a follower of Anthony Collins. Shaftesbury is ridiculed for his method and style as much as for his ideas. Alciphron at times speaks a kind of Shaftesburian pastiche — 'Oh rapture! Oh enthusiasm! Oh the quintessence of beauty!'4 — and he carries one of his master's works, Advice to an Author, in his pocket, a passage from which is read out by Crito to the disgust of Euphranor, who objects 'why should we break off our conference to read a play?' Berkeley makes his point by printing the passage as blank verse.5 (Pope and Warburton play the same trick on a passage from Shaftesbury's The Moralists in the notes to Book IV of The Dunciad.)6 The third dialogue is largely devoted to demolishing Shaftesbury's ethics, partly through Alciphron's failure to defend them to the satisfaction of Crito and Euphranor, and partly through Crito's vignette of Cratylus (transparently Shaftesbury), who 'talked himself, or imagined that he had talked himself, into a stoical enthusiasm about the beauty of virtue'.7 In the opening pages of The Theory of Vision Vindicated (1733), Berkeley summed up the elaborate case he had made against Shaftesbury in Alciphron as an implicit atheist as follows: All that is said of a vital principle of order, harmony, and proportion; all that is said of the natural decorum and fitness of things; all that is said of taste and enthusiasm, may well consist and be supposed, without a grain even of natural religion, without any notion of law or duty, any belief of a lord or judge, or any religious sense of a God; the contemplation of the mind upon the ideas of beauty, and virtue, and order, and fitness, being one thing, and a sense of religion another. So long as we admit no principle of good actions but natural affection, no reward but natural consequences; so long as we apprehend no judgment, harbour no fears, and cherish no hopes of a future state, but laugh at all these things, with the author of the Characteristics, and those whom he 4. G. Berkeley, Alciphron, in The Works of George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, ed. A.A. Luce and T.E. Jessup, iii (London, 1950), p. 121. 5. Ibid., pp. 198-200. 6. A. Pope, The Dunciad, ed. J. Sutherland, in The Twickenham Edition of the Works of Alexander Pope, v (3rd edn, London, 1963), pp. 389-90. Warburton attacked Shaftesbury for his misrepresentation of Locke in The Divine Legation of Moses Demonstrated, i (London, 1738), 'Dedication to the Free-thinkers', pp. xxiii-xxv. 7. Berkeley, Alciphron, p. 132.

Sbaftesburian Enthusiasm and the Evangelical Revival


esteems the liberal and polished part of mankind, how can we be said to be religious in any sense?8 The second substantial attack, less well known than Alciphron, is Philip Skelton's Ophiomaches, or Deism Revealed (1749). Skelton had earlier published The Candid Reader (1744), a Swiftian squib in which he castigated Shaftesbury for his obscurity, the insinuating method whereby he bewitched his readers with rapture, rant, flight and rhapsody, and characterised him as a genie from the Arabian Nights and 'an Ignis-fatuus, that leads his Reader thro' Hedges and Ditches, over Hills and Dales, and at last leaves him sticking up to the Ears in a Bog.'9 Deism Revealed is a much more serious and thoughtful analysis, both of the fundamental differences between deism and Christianity, and of the means whereby Christianity has been infiltrated by deism, for which Skelton blames Christians as well as deists. It takes the form of a series of dialogues between Mr Shepherd, an orthodox parson; Mr Dechaine, his landlord, a deist; Mr Templeton, Dechaine's ward; and Mr Cunningham, a deistical parson and Templeton's tutor. By the end of the dialogues there is a breach between Shepherd and Dechaine, and Shepherd has rescued Templeton from the corrupting effects of his education in the course of which he had deist principles imposed on him under the guise of Christianity. The final dialogue (VIII) includes a long analysis of Shaftesbury's principles and methods. Here Skelton repeats and elaborates the charges he made in The Candid Reader of disingenuity, obscurity, ranting and rhapsody, treating with contempt Shaftesbury's careful balancing of reason and enthusiasm: 'His Lordship is an enthusiastic writer by profession; but would have us think his enthusiasm polite and rational. Be this as it will, he takes flights sometimes, which George Fox himself need not have been ashamed of.' He is a particularly dangerous writer for the young: his works 'should be considered as lumps of poison, wrapped in leaf-gold'.10 Who were the Christian readers whom Leland, Berkeley and Skelton saw as being bewitched by the insinuating Shaftesburian rhetoric? Who swallowed the poison wrapped in gold? A number of different strands of influence and response can be identified,11 but whereas Shaftesbury's detractors tried to be specific in their accounts of the relationship between his thought and his method (insofar as they were able to untangle this), his admirers took from him what they wanted, whether ideas, language or style, without allowing this to come into conflict with their own religious views. One 8. Idem, The Theory of Vision or Visual Language . . . Vindicated and Explained, in Works, i (1948), pp. 252-53. 9. [P. Skelton], The Candid Reader (Dublin, 1744), pp. 14-34, 45-49. 10. [P. Skelton], Deism Revealed: Or, The Attack on Christianity Candidly Reviewed . . . (2nd edn, London, 1751), ii, pp. 246-59. For further references to Shaftesbury see i, pp. 5, 10, 32-34, 119, 133-34, 180-81, 191, 194; ii, pp. 163, 213-14, 218, 234. Skelton dropped Ophiomaches (i.e. fighting with serpents) from the title of the second edition. 11. See the invaluable list (admittedly incomplete) of 'References to Shaftesbury, 1700-1800' in A.O. Aldridge, 'Shaftesbury and the Deist Manifesto', Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, n.s. xli (1951), pp. 371-82.


Revival and Religion since 1700

important medium for the transmission of Shaftesburian thought was the moral philosophy teaching at Scottish universities, notably by Francis Hutcheson at Glasgow and George Turnbull and David Fordyce at Aberdeen. Hutcheson, a Presbyterian minister from Ulster who had been educated at Glasgow, developed his Shaftesburian moral philosophy in the early 1720s when he was in charge of a dissenting academy in Dublin and under the influence of Shaftesbury's friend Viscount Molesworth.12 Skelton unsurprisingly, as he makes clear in The Candid Reader, thought Hutcheson as bad as Shaftesbury; his deist tutor Cunningham, who impresses Shaftesburian notions on the mind of young Templeton, was educated at Glasgow.13 A second important strand in the diffusion of Shaftesbury was poetry. H.N. Fairchild gives several examples of religious poets from the 1720s onwards who drew on Shaftesburian terms and ideas without fully recognising their incompatibility with other positions they held. Most did not acknowledge their source. Fairchild notes as exceptions who did Elizabeth Carter, the translator of Epictetus, and Thomas Blacklock, befriended by Hume and briefly a Presbyterian minister, who praised 'sacred Ashley'.14 The two most important poetic imitators of Shaftesbury, Thomson and Akenside, were probably themselves deists, but in Thomson's case at least this does not mean that he was read as an anti-Christian writer. The dissenting poet Elizabeth Rowe and her friend and correspondent the countess of Hertford combined devout evangelical Christianity — both were friends of the dissenter Isaac Watts — with admiration for Thomson's poems (the countess was his patron and the dedicatee of Spring).15 A.D. McKillop and James Sambrook both assume that when Thomson replaced two lines on the Restoration divines Barrow and Tillotson with five lines on Shaftesbury, 'The generous ASHLEY', 12. For the influence of Shaftesbury and Molesworth see W.R. Scott, Francis Hutcheson (Cambridge, 1900), chap. 2; R.L. Emerson, 'Science and Moral Philosophy in the Scottish Enlightenment'; J. Moore, 'The Two Systems of Francis Hutcheson'; P.B. Wood, 'Science and the Pursuit of Virtue in the Aberdeen Enlightenment", in Studies in the Philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment, ed. M.A. Stewart (Oxford, 1990), pp. 24-25, 46^7, 130-36. Hutcheson taught at Glasgow 1730-46; Turnbull and Fordyce taught at Marischal College, Aberdeen 1721-27 and 1742-50 respectively. 13. [Skelton], The Candid Reader, pp. 9, 28; [Skelton], Deism Revealed, i, pp. 10-12. It is, however, clear that Cunningham is a divine of the Established Church. David Berman suggests he may be modelled on Robert Clayton, bishop of Clogher; Skelton, Ophiomaches (Bristol, 1990; facsimile reprint of 1749 edn), introduction, i, p. xi. See also Berman, 'The Culmination and Causation of Irish Philosophy', Archiv fur Geschichte der Philosophic, Ixiv (1982), pp. 259-62. For John Wesley's hostility to Hutcheson see the references in I. Rivers, Reason, Grace, and Sentiment: A Study of the Language of Religion and Ethics in England 1660-1780, i (Cambridge, 1991), p. 230. 14. H.N. Fairchild, Religious Trends in English Poetry, i, 1700-1740 (New York, 1939), pp. 258, 382-83, 394, 480-81, 569-70; ii, 1740-1780 (New York, 1942), pp. 204, 282-83. For Joseph Spence's insistence that the names of Shaftesbury and Hume should be erased from the London edition of Blacklock's poems, see The Letters of David Hume, ed. J.Y.T. Greig (Oxford, 1932), i, p. 231. Perhaps for metrical reasons, Shaftesbury is usually referred to in poetry by his family name of Ashley. 15. Fairchild, Religious Trends i, pp. 209, 513-15; J. Sambrook, James Thomson, 1700-1748: A Life (Oxford, 1991), pp. 61-64.

Shaftesburian Enthusiasm and the Evangelical Revival


in the 1730 version of Summer, this was a significant shift from orthodoxy to heterodoxy.16 But it might not have appeared so to contemporaries; as Leland and Skelton complained, Shaftesbury was not necessarily read as a heterodox writer. Of course it does not follow that because certain Christians admired Thomson they also approved of Shaftesbury. Elizabeth Rowe seems to have regarded The Moralists as a joke. She wrote to the countess of Hertford: [it] has fill'd my head with beauties, and love, and harmony, but all of a divine and mysterious nature. However superior his notions may be to my capacity, I have been agreeably led on thro' I know not what enchanting scenes of happiness. I wish you would read it, for it would make you the most charming and agreeable enthusiast in the world. Whether I am in my right senses at present, I cannot tell.

Since she also later strongly praised Alciphron — 'Nothing can be writ with more argument and vivacity, nor more seasonably in this juncture of apostasy from the Christian religion' — the ironic interpretation would seem to be correct.17 However, there is clear evidence of interest in aspects of Shaftesbury among writers who moved in the circle of the dissenting minister and educationalist Philip Doddridge, and it is this third strand that I am concerned with. So far as I am aware it has not been explored in detail. I propose to look at the way in which Doddridge treated Shaftesbury in his philosophy lectures at his Northampton academy, and then to turn to works by two of Doddridge's friends who represented opposite extremes of the range of his philosophical and religious interests: Dialogues concerning Education (1745-8) and Theodorus (1753) by the Aberdeen moral philosopher David Fordyce (to whom I have already referred, and with whom I shall be principally concerned); and Theron and Aspasio (1755) by the evangelical clergyman James Hervey. Both these writers borrow language, method and ideas from Shaftesbury, Fordyce with and Hervey without acknowledgement, but for very different ends: Fordyce in order to incorporate them into his own eclectic version of Christianity, Hervey in order to use them, with an irony Shaftesbury might have appreciated, in support of Reformation doctrines of sin and redemption and against the dominant eighteenth-century tradition of latitudinarian moral theology and Shaftesburian moral philosophy. But before turning to these works I want first to consider briefly the features of Shaftesbury that were to prove so attractive and influential, in particular his redefinition of meditation and enthusiasm, his creation of a genre of philosophical rhapsody, and his analogy between beauty and virtue. 16. A.D. McKillop, The Background of Thomson's Seasons (Minneapolis, 1942), p. 29; J. Thomson, The Seasons, ed. J. Sambrook (Oxford, 1981), pp. 130, 284, 361. Sambrook suggests that lines 522-26 of Summer and lines 106-10 of Winter are indebted to Theocles' rhapsody in The Moralists; The Seasons, pp. 346, 382. 17. The Miscellaneous Works in Prose and Verse of Mrs Elizabeth Rowe (London, 1739), ii, letter vi (no date), p. 41; letter Ixxiv, 22 April 1732, p. 135.


Revival and Religion since 1700

The three volumes of essays that constitute Shaftesbury's Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times (first published 1711; corrected for the posthumous second edition of 1714) are arranged as a triptych: the central volume contains the essence of Shaftesbury's philosophy in the form of his systematic treatise An Inquiry concerning Virtue, or Merit (first published 1699) and his dialogue The Moralists (first published 1709); the first volume leads up to it with the three rather baffling and teasing methodological essays A Letter concerning Enthusiasm (first published 1708), Sensus Communis: An Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour (first published 1709), and Soliloquy: Or Advice to an Author (first published 1710); and the third volume of Miscellaneous Reflections comments editorially on the preceding volumes as though they were the work of another hand.18 The whole is tied together with an elaborate but helpful system of cross-referencing and indexing ('the only cement that connects and methodizes his matter', complained Skelton).19 Throughout the tone shifts bewilderingly from banter, raillery, irony and sheer sarcasm through analysis and exposition to enthusiasm and rapture and back again. Shaftesbury's indirect and insinuating method is to be explained in part by his sense of what his audience can be made to accept and how best he can manipulate them. He writes for men in public life, in court or camp, gentlemen, men of taste, virtuosi, freethinkers, sceptics, men of wit; he writes against churchmen, scholars in cells and cloisters, bigots, the superstitious, false enthusiasts. From the isolated standpoint of a philosophical theist (he dislikes the term deist) who champions the cause of religion and virtue against both the clerical bigot and the atheist,20 and assuming an enormous reluctance on the part of his polite reader to examine seriously the nature of his own moral life, he endeavours to unite the gentleman and the scholar, to convert the virtuoso into the man of virtue, the sceptic into the true enthusiast.21 Shaftesbury's models, for both their thought and (with qualifications) their form, were the classical moralists. His favourite texts, as we know from his own statements, were Xenophon's Memorabilia, Plato's Dialogues, Epictetus's Enchiridion and Discourses, and Marcus Aurelius's Meditations, together with the poems of Horace.22 We also know from Birch's General Dictionary that 18. All references are to the 1714 edition. 19. [Skelton], Deism Revealed, ii, p. 257. Shaftesbury draws attention to the relationship between the parts of Characteristicks in 'Miscellany IIP, iii, pp. 134-35n, and 'Miscellany IV, iii, pp. 189-91. 20. Shaftesbury, Inquiry concerning Virtue, Characteristicks, ii, pp. 7-8. For Shaftesbury's criticism of the terms deist and deism, see The Life, Unpublished Letters, and Philosophical Regimen of Anthony, Earl of Shaftesbury, ed. B. Rand (London, 1900), 'Deity', pp. 38-39. 21. See e.g., Shaftesbury, A Letter concerning Enthusiasm, Characteristicks, i, p. 122n; 'Miscellany III', iii, pp. 163, 179; cf. idem, Second Characters or the Language of Forms, ed. B. Rand (Cambridge, 1914), preface, pp. 9-10. 22. On Xenophon see Shaftesbury, Characteristicks, i, pp. 254-55, and iii, p. 248; on Plato see i, pp. 53, 193ff, 254; on Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius see iii, p. 199n, 202n, and especially 'Philosophical Regimen' (i.e. 'Exercises') in Life, Letters, ed. Rand, passim; on Horace see letter to Pierre Coste, 1 October 1706, in Life, Letters, 358ff, and Characteristicks, iii, pp. 202n, 248-49.

Shaftesburian Enthusiasm and the Evangelical Revival


Shaftesbury constantly read and carried with him Xenophon, Horace, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius.23 The portrait prefixed to the first volume of the 1714 edition of Characteristicks shows him with three large volumes on a pedestal and one small one held in his hand. Two of the former are identified as Plato and Xenophon; Robert Voitle, Shaftesbury's biographer, suggests convincingly that the third of these is Epictetus, and that the one closest to him, physically and metaphorically, is Marcus Aurelius.24 In a long and important letter to the Huguenot Pierre Coste, arguing that Horace is fundamentally a Stoic, Shaftesbury explained that there were only two philosophies in the ancient world: one deriving from Socrates and descending through the Old Academy and the Peripatetics to the Stoics, the other deriving from Democritus and descending through the Cyrenaics to the Epicureans. (He does not regard scepticism as constituting a distinct philosophy.) He differentiates the two as follows: The first . . . of these two philosophies recommended action, concernment in civil affairs, religion. The second derided all, and advised inaction and retreat, and with good reason. For the first maintained that society, right, and wrong was founded in Nature, and that Nature had a meaning, and was herself, that is to say in her wits, well governed and administered by one simple and perfect intelligence. The second again derided this, and made Providence and Dame Nature not so sensible as a doting old woman. The first, therefore, of these philosophies is to be called the civil, social, Theistic; the second, the contrary.25

It is the civil, social, theistic philosophy that Shaftesbury espouses. Shaftesbury's object is to make his readers learn how to live. Philosophy is not a matter of speculation but of practice, of living the life of virtue not in retreat but in the world. For this to be achieved the novice must come to understand the relation of the inward anatomy or architecture or economy, as he variously calls it,26 to the outward, of the parts to the whole. The essential first step to this knowledge is self-examination, meditation, or soliloquy, which is explored particularly in Advice to an Author. Now Shaftesbury is very anxious to distinguish this regimen from anything in the Christian tradition that might resemble it. He makes clear his hostility to religious meditation, and indeed argues that early religious education, particularly in the form of the catechism, proves a positive hindrance to proper philosophical self-examination in adult life.27 Whoever undertakes true philosophical meditation must both 'descend . . . into himself, and examine his inward Powers and Facultys', and 'ascend beyond his own immediate Species, City, or Community, to discover and recognize his higher Polity, or Community (that common and 23. T. Birch, A General Dictionary, Historical and Critical, ix (1739), p. 186, n. Q. 24. R. Voitle, The Third Earl of Shaftesbury, 1671-1713 (Baton Rouge, LA, 1984), p. 344. 25. Life, Letters, ed. Rand, p. 359. 26. Shaftesbury, Inquiry concerning Virtue, Characteristicks, ii, pp. 83, 134-35. 27. Idem, Advice to an Author, Characteristicks, i, pp. 164-67, 306-7, 343.


Revival and Religion since 1700

universal-one, of which he is born a Member;)'.28 This technique of Stoic' meditation, modelled on Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, is essentially private; whatever written exercises may result, they are not for publication (and though Shaftesbury drew on his own exercises for the composition of Characteristicks, they remained unpublished until the twentieth century).29 However, there is a very important genre in which the public face of meditation can be shown and studied, and that is philosophical dialogue. Shaftesbury insists that self-examination can only be practised by those who have a wide commerce with the world. In 'Miscellany III' he explains (speaking of himself in the third person): The Sources of this improving Art of Self-Correspondence he derives from the highest Politeness and Elegance of antient Dialogue, and Debate, in matters of Wit, Knowledg and Ingenuity. And nothing, according to our Author, can so well revive this self-corresponding Practice, as the same Search and Study of the highest Politeness in modern Conversation.^

The function of classical dialogue, and the difficulty of recovering it in the circumstances of modern life, are discussed in Advice to an Author, in the opening pages of Shaftesbury's own philosophical dialogue, The Moralists, and in 'Miscellany V. The Socratic dialogues of Plato and Xenophon, in their dramatic, poetic representations of the debates between the 'Philosophical Hero' Socrates and the 'Under-parts or second Characters', function as 'magical Glasses' or 'a sort of Pocket-Mirrour' for the reader's self-inspection, at the same time as they illustrate the public role of philosophy that the modern world has lost.31 'WE need not wonder', observes Philocles in The Moralists, 'that the sort of Moral Painting, by way of Dialogue, is so much out of fashion; and that we see no more of these Philosophical Portraitures now-a-days. For where are the Originals?*2 Shaftesbury is scornful of the clerical practitioners of dialogue, whose ineptitude has brought the form into contempt; he points out to them that 'if real Gentlemen seduc'd, as you pretend, and made erroneous in their Religion or Philosophy, discover not the least Feature of their real Faces in your Looking-glass, . . . they will hardly be apt to think they are refuted.'33 In The Moralists, therefore, Shaftesbury set out to write a new kind of dialogue, which would incorporate the features of classical dialogue adapted 28. Idem, 'Miscellany HI', Characteristic/!*, iii, p. 158; cf. idem, Letter concerning Enthusiasm, i, p. 41; idem, Advice to an Author, i, p. 355. O.E.D. gives examples of 'to descend into oneself meaning 'to betake oneself to deep meditation or consideration' from Knox (1572), La Primaudaye (1594), and Milton, Paradise Regained (1671), ii, line 111. 29. By Rand; see nn. 20, 22 above. 30. Shaftesbury, Characteristicks, iii, p. 155. 31. Shaftesbury, Advice to an Author, Characteristicks, i, pp. 193-96. Skelton turns Shaftesbury's favourite mirror image against him: 'An intellectual Narcissus, like Lord Shaftesbury, may be deeply smitten with the beauties of his own mind, reflected from the mirror of his own conceit', [Skelton], Deism Revealed, ii, p. 304. 32. Shaftesbury, Characteristicks, ii, p. 188; cf p. 191. 33. Idem, 'Miscellany V, Characteristicks, iii, pp. 290-96.

Shaftesburian Enthusiasm and the Evangelical Revival


to contemporary circumstances, present a true mirror to the gentleman freethinker, and yet be cast in a looser, freer form which Shaftesbury called in the subtitle 'A Philosophical Rhapsody'. In 'Miscellany V he appears to regret this subtitle — 'As if it were merely of that Essay or mix'd kind of Works, which come abroad with an affected Air of Negligence and Irregularity'34 — yet the mixture of philosophy and rhapsody, reason and enthusiasm, the scholastic and the polite, the didactic and the poetic, is very carefully calculated. The subject of the dialogue is the conversion of the freethinking Philocles by the philosophical theist Theocles from scepticism to enthusiasm, and the climax is Theocles' rapturous meditation at dawn in the presence of Philocles on the universal system and the mind that informs it, juxtaposed with his reasoned account of the meaning of moral beauty and the life devoted to its pursuit. Shaftesbury treats the terms enthusiasm and enthusiast with a good deal of self-consciousness, because he is anxious to separate the false vulgar meaning from the true noble one, and because he assumes a reluctance on the part of his readers to accept his redefinition. A Letter concerning Enthusiasm, which is ostensibly an attack on enthusiasm in the conventional seventeenthcentury sense of irrational sectarian religion and groundless pretension to divine illumination, concludes with an appeal to Plato and an attribution of noble enthusiasm to 'Heroes, Statesmen, Poets, Orators, Musicians, and even Philosophers themselves'. At the end of this letter Shaftesbury signs himself 'your Enthusiastick Friend', as he does in several of his private letters to Lord Somers, to whom A Letter concerning Enthusiasm and the other works that make up Characteristicks were originally sent.35 Philocles defends Theocles to his friend the courtier Palemon as having 'nothing of that savage Air of the vulgar Enthusiastick Kind . . . The manner of it was more after the pleasing Transports of those antient Poets you are often charm'd with, than after the fierce unsociable way of modern Zealots . . . tho he had all of the Enthusiast, he had nothing of the Bigot.'^6 The first, privately printed, version of The Moralists was entitled The Sociable Enthusiast?7 What Philocles must learn from Theocles is that 'all sound Love and Admiration is ENTHUSIASM'.38 Enthusiasm as Shaftesbury uses it is a deliberately paradoxical term, because for the contemporary reader it would imply irrationality and spontaneity. Yet as Theocles makes clear to Philocles, properly understood it involves reason, difficulty, labour and time.39 As Shaftesbury says in 'Miscellany V, 'The Perfection of Virtue is from long Art and Management, Self-Controul, 34. Ibid., iii, p. 286n. The whole account of the form of The Moralists in iii, pp. 284-88 is important. On Shaftesbury's redefinition of 'rhapsody' see Pat Rogers, 'Shaftesbury and the Aesthetics of Rhapsody', British Journal of Aesthetics, xii (1972), p. 244-57. 35. Shaftesbury, Characteristicks, i, pp. 53-55; note the cross-references on p. 54 and the large index entry in vol. iii. For the signatures to Somers see Life, Letters, ed. Rand, pp. 387, 394, 421, 430. 36. Shaftesbury, The Moralists, Characteristicks, ii, pp. 218-19. 37. For an account see Voitle, Shaftesbury, pp. 313-23. 38. Shaftesbury, The Moralists, Characteristicks, ii, p. 400. 39. Ibid., ii, p. 401.


Revival and Religion since 1700

and, as it were, Force on Nature'.*Q Here his recurrent analogy between ethics and aesthetics (which is central to his persuasive method, but which I can only touch on) is very helpful. Shaftesbury assumes that 'Every-one is a Virtuoso, of a higher or lower degree: Every-one pursues a GRACE, and courts a VENUS of one kind or another': the lower Venus of the natural world and the arts, the higher Venus of the moral world and the mind.41 Shaftesbury's object is to convert the lower, the aesthetic, into the higher, the moral virtuoso, to lure him from enthusiasm for art and nature to enthusiasm for virtue.42 As an enthusiastic writer Shaftesbury is engaged in an artificial, rhetorical process in order to achieve a philosophical, moral end. Superficially it may seem surprising that Shaftesbury should have proved attractive to figures who took an active part in or were sympathetic to the evangelical movement in its early stages. Shaftesbury's intellectual, moral and emotional roots were in the classical moralists, not the Bible, and his philosophical theism differed substantially from natural theology as understood by Christians — a personal God, immortality, future rewards and punishments played no part in his scheme. Isaac Watts's dismissal of Characteristicks in his educational handbook The Improvement of the Mind (1741) — 'there are few books that ever I read, which made any pretences to a great genius, from which I derived so little valuable knowledge as from these treatises' — and his contempt for Shaftesbury as 'Rhapsodus' seem predictable.43 Yet Doddridge's response was very different. As a student in the early 1720s Doddridge gave accounts of his reading to his mentor, the congregational minister Samuel Clark, including his first encounter with Shaftesbury — ' a strange mixture of good sense and extravagance'. In reply Clark warned him to be on his guard against Shaftesbury's insinuations against revealed religion, for which the young Doddridge was duly grateful.44 As an academy tutor in the 1730s and 40s, however, Doddridge required his students to take Shaftesbury seriously as a philosopher. In A Course of Lectures on the Principal Subjects in Pneumatology, Ethics, and Divinity (published posthumously in 1763), he directed his students to several passages from the Inquiry concerning Virtue and The Moralists in lectures on proofs of the existence of God and on the nature of virtue.45 This does not in itself mean that Doddridge approved of Shaftesbury:

40. Ibid., iii, p. 260n. 41. Idem, Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour, Characteristicks, i, p. 138; idem, Advice to an Author, i, p. 337; idem, The Moralists, ii, p. 294. 42. On the analogy between art and virtue as a rhetorical device or decoy for the reader, see E.A. Tiffany, 'Shaftesbury as Stoic', PMLA, xxxviii (1923), pp. 654-55; Aldridge, 'Shaftesbury and the Deist Manifesto', p. 337; Voitle, Shaftesbury, p. 339. 43. The Work's of the Rev. Isaac Watts D.D., ed. E. Parsons (Leeds, 1800), vi, pp. 207, 236. 44. The Correspondence and Diary of Philip Doddridge, D.D., ed. J.D. Humphreys (London, 1829-31), i, pp. 36, 62, 67; G.F. Nuttall, Calendar of the Correspondence of Philip Doddridge D.D. (London, 1979), letters 6, 11, 13. 45. The Works of the Rev. P. Doddridge, D.D., ed. E. Williams and E. Parsons (Leeds, 1802-05), iv, pp. 358, 360, 364, 367, 416, 433-34, 438, 538.

Shaftesburian Enthusiasm and the Evangelical Revival


he introduced his students to several heterodox authors, including Hume, because he believed that truth could best be defended through a knowledge of the strength of error.46 However, his references to Shaftesbury indicate that he is ignoring the anti-Christian writer, the rhetorician, and the rhapsodist and recommending the defender of theism and the moral realist. For example, he observes that Hutcheson distorts Shaftesbury's theory of the moral sense and he emphasises the rational foundation Shaftesbury gives to virtue in the Inquiry.*7 The material from Shaftesbury forms only a very small part of the early stage of Doddridge's long course of 230 lectures, which begins with the faculties of the human mind, continues with the being of God, the nature of moral virtue, the immortality of the soul, goes on to the evidences for revelation, and concludes with evangelical doctrine. Natural religion and ethics are only the foundation for revealed religion, the most important subject (though the ordering of material is significant). Thus Shaftesburian theism and ethics are kept strictly separate from both Christian doctrine and practical religion. Yet the work of Fordyce shows how Doddridge's educational programme could become imbued with Shaftesburian enthusiasm. Fordyce studied philosophy and divinity at Aberdeen in the 1720s, and in the 1730s spent some time at Doddridge's academy at Northampton.48 He was Professor of Moral Philosophy at Marischal College, Aberdeen from 1742 till his early death in 1751, and the author of several moral and educational works which had a very wide circulation. He corresponded with Doddridge about new literary and philosophical works, and asked for Doddridge's opinion of his own writing.49 Fordyce was not an evangelical in theology — if we take John Wesley's definition of evangelical Christianity as acceptance of the essential doctrines of original sin, justification by faith and holiness of heart and life,50 then Fordyce fails on the first two counts — but his educational theories and his view of the role of the preacher show very strongly the influence of both Doddridge's educational methods and the affectionate temper of his religion. At the same time Fordyce expresses these ideas through the medium of Shaftesburian dialogue and rhapsody, and with frequent allusion to Shaftesburian topics. The effect of this extraordinary combination is to recover for Christianity a rhetoric, a method and a language that Shaftesbury had deliberately evolved in opposition to Christianity and in support of a revitalised classical philosophy. 46. Doddridge stated this view in an important letter to John Wesley of 18 June 1746, Correspondence, ed. Humphreys, iv, pp. 492-93; Nuttall, Calendar, letter 1166. 47. P. Doddridge, Works, ed. Williams and Parsons, iv, pp. 433-34. 48. On the relationship between Fordyce and Doddridge see P. Jones, 'The Polite Academy and the Presbyterians, 1720-1770', in J. Dwyer et al., New Perspectives on the Politics and Culture of Early Modern Scotland (Edinburgh, 1982), pp. 160-65. 49. Doddridge, Correspondence, ed. Humphreys, iii, pp. 416, 442; iv, pp. 24, 536-37; v, p. 55; Nuttall, Calendar, letters 587, 565, 675, 1242, 1325. 50. In an open letter to the evangelical clergy, 19 April 1764, The Journal of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M., ed. N. Curnock (London, 1909-16), v, pp. 60-62.


Revival and Religion since 1700

Fordyce's Dialogues concerning Education are narrated by Simplicius, a newcomer to Euphranor's academy. The other principal characters are Euphranor's assistant Philander, and the members of a student philosophical club, Sophron, Eugenio, Constant and Hiero. Euphranor (the choice of name may be intended as a criticism of the orthodox Euphranor of Alciphron) has Doddridge's characteristic of encouraging wide reading and free debate, and Shaftesbury's preference for the philosophical methods of the Athenian Academy.51 In religion he 'has a strong and natural Vein of Enthusiasm', and cherishes it in his pupils in order to improve it 'into a truly rational and elevated Spirit of Piety and Devotion'.52 Philander and Constant are great admirers of the ancients, in particular their uniting of the roles of scholar and gentleman, the spheres of eloquence and action.53 Sophron is 'a perfect Enthusiast1 on the subject of the ancients, and speaks with raptures of Greece and Rome, but Constant, sounding like Shaftesbury's Philocles, is more cautious: 'are not all your Enthusiasts in Religion, Government, and Philosophy, held captive with an excessive Admiration of some peculiar Venus or other . . .?'54 Eugenio is a man of the world, Constant a plain dealer and patriot,55 and they both act as foils to the devout Hiero, in some ways the most important character. Like Doddridge, Hiero has no interest in theological systems, controversies, or parties. He loves the Bible, and 'studies to imbibe the very Spirit of the divinest Moralists, ancient and modern; so that you would think the Soul of a Plato, or Antoninus, were transfused into him'. He is a citizen of the world, and a strict follower of Christ.56 The most Shaftesburian dialogue, the tone of which is difficult to interpret (as is the case with Part III of The Moralists) is the ninth, which is entitled 'A Philosophical Rhapsody concerning the Being and Providence of GOD'. Simplicius comes across Hiero in the fields early one morning, 'engaged in a profound Meditation by himself, and venting his Soliloquies with an audible Voice'. He is standing on a little eminence (Shaftesbury recommends a thick wood or a high hill for the soliloquiser in Advice to an Author), in the posture of Theocles:57 his eyes raised, his right hand 'stretched out in a sprightly declaiming Attitude', in his left a book. As Hiero rhapsodises, Simplicius, like a good student of Doddridge, sits down, gets out pen and ink, and writes it down in shorthand.58 There then follow eight pages of meditation on nature, the universal mind and man, modelled on that of Theocles, but whereas 51. D. Fordyce, Dialogues concerning Education, i (London, 1745), pp. 19, 21 [hereafter cited as Fordyce, Dialogues}. 52. Ibid., ii (London, 1748), pp. 23-24. 53. Ibid., i, pp. 98-99, 106. 54. Ibid., ii, p. 44; i, p. 305. 55. Ibid., i, 55ff. 56. Ibid., i, 59-60. 57. Shaftesbury, Advice to an Author, Characteristicks, i, p. 160; idem, The Moralists, ii, pp. 343^4 (cf. 223). 58. On Doddridge's use of shorthand see M. Deacon, Philip Doddridge of Northampton (Northampton, 1980), appendix iv. Simplicius says he used shorthand in Fordyce, Dialogues, i, p. 248.

Shaftesburian Enthusiasm and the Evangelical Revival


Theocles frequently breaks off to discuss the content with Philocles, Hiero does not know that Simplicius is present. When the philosophical club meets in the evening, Simplicius reads out the philosophical rhapsody, claiming, in an 'innocent Fraud', that it is his own. Hiero at first does not recognise his own words, and objects that it cannot have been written spontaneously because it hangs together too well as a piece of reasoning, and he himself would not have been capable of 'rhapsodizing so coherently'. When Simplicius confesses, Hiero is indignant at having his soliloquies and raptures exposed, 'as if a Man were a Lunatic or Visionary of the last Age, when Revelations and divine Effusions were no unusual thing'. But of course the point is that this is not seventeenth-century enthusiasm: it is reasoned, philosophical, self-conscious and somewhat self-mocking Shaftesburian enthusiasm. At the end of the dialogue there is some banter between Constant and Eugenic, who says he wants to learn how 'to grow a Rhapsodist, and . . . fall into Raptures'; Constant says he will believe it when he catches Eugenic with book in hand, 'a Shaftesbury perhaps, or a Thomson, our excellent philosophical Poet, in some unfrequented Field or Lane, throwing out philosophic Rhapsodies'.59 There are further explicit references to Shaftesbury and discussion of Shaftesburian themes and forms elsewhere in the dialogues. In the eleventh, Sophron laments that the 'moral Mirrours' of ancient dialogue are not used by the moderns (by now a Shaftesburian cliche). Eugenio in reply praises The Moralists fervently in Shaftesbury's own terms, but Sophron demurs in terms Mrs Rowe might have approved: 'Nature wears a constrained kind of Aspect in those Dialogues . . . Perhaps I may have been deceived and ravished by those gay Delusions. While they passed before my Eyes and thought, I saw real Forms; but when the Vision was gone, all appeared like a Dream, or the Force of Magic.'60 The central subject of this eleventh dialogue is ancient allegory and fable, and both Hiero and Sophron strongly recommend the two that were closest to Shaftesbury's heart: Prodicus's fable of the judgement of Hercules between Virtue and Pleasure (from Xenophon's Memorabilia), and the table of Cebes. At the end of his life Shaftesbury commissioned a painting of the Judgement of Hercules, and wrote a short treatise of advice for the painter, Paolo de Matteis, describing the posture of the three participants in the dialogue and emphasising Virtue's 'enthusiastick Agitation' as she addresses the hero.61 This treatise, A Notion of the Historical Draught or Tablature of the Judgment of Hercules, together with an engraving of the painting, was included in some copies of the 1714 edition of Characteristicks.62 Shaftesbury's commission is praised by Sophron as 'one of the noblest Historic Pieces or 59. Ibid., i, pp. 237-49, 261-64. 60. Ibid., i, p. 387-91. 61. Shaftesbury, Judgment of Hercules, Characteristicks, iii, p. 368. 62. Shaftesbury, Second Characters, ed. Rand, introduction, xi-xviii. Shaftesbury had intended to write an appendix to the Table of Cebes, but Fordyce may not have known this. Shaftesbury refers to both fables in The Moralists, Characteristicks, ii, p. 254. See his letter to Thomas Micklethwayt, 23 February 1712, in Life, Letters, ed. Rand, pp. 473-74.


Revival and Religion since 1700

Tablatures, Ancient or Modern'.63 In the fourteenth dialogue, which takes place outside the academy, Cleora, one of the few female characters, describes her education by Phylax. Her reading has included among moral works Advice to an Author — 'the first Book that gave me a strong Conviction of the Usefulness of the Habit of inspecting one's self — and among religious works The Life of God in the Soul of Man.64 Nothing can illustrate more clearly the complacent nature of Fordyce's eclecticism than the juxtaposition of these works. The Life of God in the Soul of Man by the seventeenth-century Scottish Episcopalian Henry Scougal was one of John Wesley's favourite devotional works,65 and it is precisely the kind of religious meditation for the publishing of which Shaftesbury expresses such scorn in Advice to an Author. Despite the amiable disagreements between his characters, Fordyce does not see any real tensions between Shaftesbury's enthusiastic philosophy and Doddridge's affectionate religion. This eclecticism is further apparent in the last three dialogues. In the seventeenth Euphranor, putting forward a plan of university education, stresses the importance of the ancient moralists, notably Socrates as portrayed by Xenophon; Cebes; and the Stoics: Epictetus and his commentators Simplicius and Arrian, and above all Marcus Aurelius.66 In the eighteenth dialogue Hiero endorses this view, but at the end of the nineteenth and final dialogue he recommends a group of seventeenth-century divines for the enlightening and warming of the soul: Fenelon; the latitude-men Cudworth, Smith, Whichcote (whose sermons Shaftesbury edited), Patrick and Worthington; and the Scottish Episcopalian Leighton (whose works Doddridge edited).67 The book ends with Hiero urging the exercise of the kind and humane affections (the subject of Book II of Shaftesbury's Inquiry) as the path to divine friendship (a subject on which Shaftesbury is silent but which means everything to Doddridge).68 Fordyce's Dialogues concerning Education concentrate on moral philosophy,69 Shaftesbury's province, but in his much briefer Theodorus: A Dialogue concerning the Art of Preaching, Shaftesbury is more surprisingly brought forward, though not by name, to strengthen the preaching style recommended 63. Fordyce, Dialogues, i, p. 411; cf. 368, 375, 392, and for Cebes p. 410; ii, p. 259. 64. Ibid., ii, pp. 140-41, 143. Another moral work read by Cleora, which together with Advice to an Author contains 'the very Quintessence of practical moral Philosophy', is Hutcheson's Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections (1728). 65. For details see I. Rivers, ed., Books and their Readers in Eighteenth-Century England (Leicester, 1982), p. 156. 66. Fordyce, Dialogues, ii, pp. 301-2. 67. Ibid., ii, pp. 340—41, 461. Shaftesbury published Select Sermons of Dr Whichcot (London, 1698) with an anonymous preface; Doddridge published Robert Leighton's Expository Works (Edinburgh, 1748) with a preface, in the same year Dialogues, II, was published. 68. The Dialogues are described in A. Chalmers, The General Biographical Dictionary: A New Edition, xiv (London, 1814), p. 470, in an entry based on A. Kippis's unpublished Biographia Britannica, vi, pt i, as 'a work of very considerable merit, but somewhat tinged with the fopperies of the school of Shaftesbury, although entirely free from its more injurious notions.' 69. In Dialogue III Sophron lists the philosophical topics discussed in the club, and in Dialogue X he insists that the enquiries of the club should not impinge on the task of ministers, Dialogues, i, pp. 67, 294.

Shaftesburian Enthusiasm and the Evangelical Revival


and practised by Doddridge. The characters are Philonous, the narrator, Agaretes, a student designed for the ministry, and Theodorus, minister of the neighbouring parish. Like Hiero, Agaretes voices a rapturous Shaftesburian soliloquy on nature, overheard by Philonous;70 like Euphranor, Theodorus has a considerable Tincture of Enthusiasm in his Constitution, but it is of so refined a nature, that it neither impairs his Judgment nor spoils his Temper, but renders him so much the more sensible of the Charms of Religion, and the Beauty of Virtue. His Enthusiasm is all sober and lovely, a pure lambent Flame, which enlightens at the same time that it warms.71

The dialogue falls into two main parts, in the first of which Agaretes provides a history of preaching. He is contemptuous of the preaching of the post-Civil War period — 'affected Raptures, unmeaning Cant, wild Grimace, and all the Distortions of Enthusiasm, blended with Superstition' — and he reserves his highest praise for that of the Restoration divines. He goes on to consider what is lacking in the present age, and what he wants in modern preaching: 'I want to have my Understanding enlightened, my Heart enflamed, every Affection thrilled, and my whole Life reformed.' These ends will not be gained by speculative harangues on orthodoxy or dissertations on moral subjects.72 This statement is a succinct summary of Doddridge's position in the lectures on preaching he delivered to his ministerial students.73 In the second part Agaretes repeats a rapturous, enthusiastic sermon by Theodorus on God's power and goodness (a deliberately artificial device, particularly so since Philonous had been present at the original sermon), and Theodorus then gives his definition of good preaching and the qualifications needed by the preacher. Preaching is speaking to the heart of man; the preacher must address the reason, understanding, conscience, imagination, ears and eyes of his audience.74 Here Fordyce is probably drawing on Watts's An Humble Attempt towards the Revival of Practical Religion among Christians (1731).75 But when Theodorus comes to describe the content of preaching, he speaks the language of Shaftesbury. Preaching is moral painting. Here Fordyce borrows an analogy that Shaftesbury develops at length in Advice to an Author and The Moralists, of the poet-philosopher as moral artist.76 Theodorus is careful to explain how moral painting — 'an historic Painting and characterizing of Men and Manners' — differs in preaching from other 70. David Fordyce, Theodorus: A Dialogue Concerning the Art of Preaching (2nd edn, London, 1753), pp. 5-8. 71. Ibid., p. 82. 72. Ibid., pp. 55-58, 62-70. 73. The Lectures on Preaching were first published in Works, ed. Williams and Parsons, v (1804). 74. Fordyce, Theodorus, pp. 89-101, 105, 123. 75. I. Watts, Works, ed. Parsons, iv, p. 26. 76. 'The Moral Artist . . . is . . . knowing in the inward Form and Structure of his Fellow-Creature', Shaftesbury, Ad-vice to an Author, Characteristicks, i, p. 207; 'Moral Painting, by way of Dialogue', idem, The Moralists, ii, p. 188.


Revival and Religion since 1700

forms, such as drama or philosophical discourse,77 but his very choice of phrase shows Fordyce's triumphant sense of having captured Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times for Christianity. Towards the end of his account Theodorus admits that moral painting is far from being the whole of preaching, and he touches briefly on the subject of redemption.78 This comes as something of a shock to the reader, since theological doctrine has scarcely proved to be Fordyce's concern. But it is on redemption precisely that James Hervey takes his stand. In conclusion I want to consider briefly how Hervey uses Shaftesburian enthusiasm against the Shaftesburian tradition and in support of evangelical doctrine. As an undergraduate at Lincoln College, Oxford in the early 1730s, Hervey was taken in hand by John Wesley and became a member of the Oxford Methodists; he was subsequently converted to the doctrine of justification by faith under the influence of George Whitefield. He spent most of his life as curate and then vicar of Weston Favell, near Northampton. He was an admirer of Watts, and his friends in the evangelical movement included Whitefield, Doddridge and the countess of Huntingdon. In theology he described himself as a moderate Calvinist (as did Doddridge), his sympathies lying with the Calvinist Methodism of Whitefield rather than the Arminian Methodism of the Wesleys.79 His chief publications, which were extremely popular throughout the eighteenth century, were Meditations and Contemplations (1746-47) and Theron and Aspasio (1755). Most comments on Hervey's writing have been enormously condescending, the D.N.B. entry by J.H. Overton being a masterpiece of the kind. The usual complaints are of Hervey's verbosity, sentimentality and affectedness. Warburton rebuked Doddridge in a letter of 10 June 1749 for countenancing 'such weak, but well meaning rhapsodies as Harvey's Meditations'.80 Leslie Stephen commented that 'To the profane reader . . . the fusion of deistical sentiment and evangelical truth does not seem to have been thoroughly effected. There is the old falsetto note which affects us disagreeably in Shaftesbury's writings.'81 Such criticisms assume that Hervey was not in control of his material, but I would like to argue that he is a rhetorically more sophisticated writer than is usually allowed, and that his adoption of what Stephen calls 'the old falsetto note' of Shaftesburian enthusiasm is done with a purpose. 77. Fordyce, Theodorus, pp. 192-211. Fordyce discusses how moral painting can be applied to Old Testament figures such as Abraham, Joseph, and Job — a very different view from the contempt for the Jews expressed by Shaftesbury in 'Miscellany IF, chap. i. 78. Fordyce, Theodorus, pp. 213-14. 79. 'I am, what people would call, a moderate Calvinist', letter of 18 August 1753, in L. Tyerman, 'Rev. James Hervey, M.A.: The Literary Parish-Priest', The Oxford Methodists (London, 1873), p. 285. 80. Doddridge, Correspondence, ed. Humphreys, v, p. 125; Nuttall, Calendar, letter 1491. 81. L. Stephen, History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1962; first published 1876), ii, p. 372. There is a more sympathetic view in W.E.M. Brown, 'Hervey: A Study of an Eighteenth Century Ideal', The Polished Shaft: Studies in the Purpose and Influence of the Christian Writer in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1950).

Shaftesburian Enthusiasm and the Evangelical Revival


Theron and Aspasio was written with the specific object of defending at length the doctrine of the imputation of Christ's righteousness to sinners. It entangled Hervey in disputation with John Wesley, an anticipation of the more extreme conflict between Calvinist and Arminian evangelicals twenty years later. The dialogues and letters contain detailed arguments about evangelical doctrine, descriptions of landscapes, houses and works of art, lengthy physicotheological illustrations, literary criticism of biblical texts in the original languages in comparison with Homer, Virgil and Horace, and frequent praise of Milton both as poet and theologian. There are two main characters. Theron is 'a Gentleman of fine Taste; of accurate, rather than extensive Reading; and particularly charmed with the Study of Nature'.82 He is a virtuoso who did the Grand Tour in his youth. We learn a good deal about his country seat, his collection of pictures, his literary tastes (he keeps Thomson's Seasons in his summerhouse, and admires Akenside's Pleasures of Imagination; his favourite historian is Xenophon),83 and especially about his moral self-confidence. His friend Aspasio used to be like Theron, and he now is what Theron will become. Aspasio shares Theron's knowledge of polite literature and philosophy but, like Hervey, 'having transiently surveyed the Productions of human Learning, [he has] devoted his final Attention to the inspired Writings'.84 This does not prevent him from quoting frequently from Paradise Lost and Young's Night Thoughts. The subject of the dialogues is Aspasio's conversion of Theron from typical eighteenth-century moral religion, with its emphasis on the dignity of human nature, reason, sincerity, duty and repentance, to acceptance of the Reformation doctrines of original sin, grace, redemption and salvation by the imputation of Christ's righteousness. At the same time Aspasio woos Theron away from love of classical literature to the Bible. In discussing evangelical theology with Theron Aspasio faces two obstacles: Theron considers both that religion is not a suitable subject of conversation for polite assemblies, and that the doctrines Aspasio advocates are those of the Puritans and therefore unsuited to the present age.85 One of Hervey's objects is to show that Reformation Christianity is a religion for gentlemen. He frequently uses natural philosophy as an enticement to evangelical doctrine in a way similar to that in which Shaftesbury uses aesthetics as an enticement to ethics. As he writes in a private letter, 'let us endeavour to catch men by guile; turn even a foible to their advantage; and bait the gospel hook agreeably to the prevailing taste'.86 Yet Theron is very resistant to Aspasio's blandishments; his conversion is much more of an intellectual and spiritual struggle than that 82. J. Hervey, Theron and Aspasio: Or, A Series of Dialogues and Letters, upon the Most Important and Interesting Subjects, 3 vols (London, 1755), i, pp. 1-2. 83. Ibid., ii, p. 7 (Thomson); ii, p. 216 (Akenside); iii, p. 191 (Xenophon). Aspasio provides a Christian commentary on Theron's collection of pictures to Theron's son Eugenic in Dialogue VI, i, pp. 247-81. 84. Ibid., i, p. 2. 85. Ibid., i, pp. 5ff, 51-52. 86. Tyerman, Oxford Methodists, p. 285, 18 August 1753.


Revival and Religion since 1700

of Philocles by Theocles. Theron must give up his pride and come to accept his sinfulness. Initially he mocks Aspasio for his Christian raptures, but as the dialogues progress he becomes increasingly melancholy. Aspasio is leading him on the classic path through conviction of sin to faith. Three episodes seem to be constructed as inversions of Shaftesburian enthusiasm. In Dialogue XII Theron, walking in a wood, comes across not a Greek or Roman temple but a statue of Elijah on his knees with his hands stretched out and his eyes to heaven. On one side of the pedestal the priests of Baal are represented, on the other the altar with Elijah's sacrifice. In the gloom Theron sees Aspasio, a book in his hand and his eyes fixed on the statue. To Theron's surprise the book is Cicero's De natura deorum, but it turns out that Aspasio reads the classics precisely because they show what they did not intend, the need of Revelation: paradoxically the copy of Cicero reinforces the meaning of the statue of Elijah.87 In Dialogue XIV Theron soliloquises in the fields. There is a deliberate conflict between two traditions of meditation here.88 The narrator states, 'At Evening He went, like the Patriarch of old, into the Field to meditate (Gen. 24:63): amidst the Calm of Nature, to meditate on the Grace of the Gospel.' But Theron cannot help apostrophising the beauty of nature. He rebukes himself for his rhapsody, and breaks off in order to review his debates with Aspasio about Christ's righteousness. At the point that he declares himself almost a convert, Aspasio, who has overheard the end of the soliloquy, steps forward and advises him that he can further the work of conversion by keeping a diary for self-examination, a 'faithful Mirrour' for contemplating himself.89 After Aspasio has left Theron's house they exchange letters, and Theron in Letter II describes the effect of this faithful mirror. It shows something no Shaftesburian virtuoso would expect, the deformity of his features, and he now sees himself 'over-spread with an habitual Depravity'.90 When Aspasio returns to Theron's house in Dialogue XV, he finds him a changed man, anxious about his spiritual state and speaking a different language.91 In the final dialogue (XVII) there is a striking disjunction between the literary form and the evangelical subject. Theron and Aspasio take a cold collation in a pleasure boat on a river journey. Where Shaftesbury or Fordyce would have made this the occasion for a philosophical rhapsody, Aspasio declaims 'A Celebration of the Gospel and its Blessings, in a Kind of Rhapsody' (as it is described in the Contents).92 The river goes through a deep forest, of the kind described by

87. Hervey, Theron and Aspasio, ii, pp. 161-66, 220. The story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal is in I Kings 18:17-40. 88. The habit among early evangelicals of meditating and praying aloud out of doors is recorded, with a number of other characteristics, by G.F. Nuttall in 'Methodism and the Older Dissent: Some Perspectives', Journal of the United Reformed Church History Society, ii (1981), pp. 259-74, especially 261-62, 264, 268. 89. Hervey, Theron and Aspasio, ii, pp. 308-16, 328-31. 90. Ibid., iii, pp. 361-67. 91. Ibid., iii, pp. 245-47. 92. Ibid., iii, pp. 375, 400-05; i, p. xxxi.

Shaftesburian Enthusiasm and the Evangelical Revival


Theocles in the climax of his meditation.93 But whereas in a footnote Hervey as narrator comments on its druidic associations, his characters do not respond to the charms of the literary setting in which he has placed them. They disembark at a vast amphitheatre, encircled by the forest. Theron comments, 'No Place better fitted to soothe, or to inspire, a contemplative Sedateness', but Aspasio recalls him from nature to the Messiah. Hervey makes no further reference to the setting of the dialogue; the book ends with Theron and Aspasio together celebrating Christ's righteousness.94 Hervey assumes an audience familiar with and sympathetic to the conventions of Shaftesburian enthusiasm, and uses these conventions both to attract this audience and to shock them into rejecting the moral assumptions on which Shaftesburian enthusiasm is based. Fordyce is totally without this sense of urgency. But Hervey's position is not as straightforward as I have suggested. Both writers addressed an audience that was both polite and religious, and they needed a language of enthusiasm that did not conflict with reason and refinement. They found it ready made in Shaftesbury, who had carefully separated it from the dreaded enthusiasm of the previous century. But by embracing the Shaftesburian kind they also took on its concomitant selfconsciousness and artificiality. The letters, journals and autobiographies of John and Charles Wesley and their preachers show that this was by no means the only rhetorical choice open to writers in the evangelical revival.

93. Shaftesbury, The Moralists, Characteristicks, ii, pp. 390-91. For the importance Shaftesbury attached to this passage see 'Plastics or The Original Progress and Power of Designatory Art' in Second Characters, ed. Rand, p. 163. Cf. Thomson, Summer, lines 516-63. 94. Hervey, Theron and Aspasio, iii, pp. 417-23, 443^6.

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Mysticism and Revival: The Case of Gerhard Tersteegen W.R. Ward

Gerhard Tersteegen (1697-1769), perhaps the prince of Protestant mystics, and certainly the prince of the notable body of mystics which thrived in the lower Rhine area in the eighteenth century, is better known for what he wrote than for what he was. The object of this essay is to use what he wrote, and what is known of the milieu in which he moved, to cast light on what he was. To pursue it is to encounter an active, often hilarious chapter of European intellectual history going back to his lifetime. Kant, whose contemporaries, 'powerfully assisted by black gall',1 converted the radical mystics into melancholic fools and enthusiasts, repeatedly delineated their profile upon a psychological grid:2 Sanguinisch Freygeist

Cholerisch Ortodox

Melancholisch Schwarmen

Phlegmatisch aberglaubisch

Unglaube epicuraeer

orthodoxie Stoicker Verfechter der herrschenden Grundsatze

Fanaticism Platonicker

aberglaube -

Spotter Freigeisterei

orthodox mehrenteils Heuchler Ketzermacher

Schwarmer eine heilige und vermessene Kuhnheit

indifferent mehrenteils aberglaubisch

By the middle of the nineteenth century it seemed necessary to reinforce this scheme by reference to the physical and economic geography of the duchy of Berg, Tersteegen's original stamping ground, and the Wuppertal.3 1. H.-J. Schings, Melancbolie und Aufkldrung: Melancholiker und ibre Kritiker in Erfahmngsseelenkunde und Literatur des 18. Ja.hrbnnderts (Stuttgart, 1977), p. 75. 2. Ibid., p. 50 (with Kant references). Spellings as in source. 3. F.W. Krug, Kritiscbe Geschichte der protestantisch-religiosen Scbwdrmerei, Sectirerei und der gesammten un- und widerkirchlicben Neuerung im Grossherzogthum Berg, besonders im Wupperthale (Elberfeld, 1851), pp. 19, 22. 41


Revival and Religion since 1700 In the valley bottoms there is severer melancholy, to which the heavy ground, the thick, misty and damp air, the frequent changes of weather &c., contribute. The greater endowment with sanguine and choleric characteristics upon the heights is enhanced by the lighter soil and thinner air, as well as the more open outlook . . . Melancholy is apt everywhere to produce religious moods . . . schwdrmerisch -religious . . . The material or physical-moral mood is intensified by the sedentary life of tailors, shoemakers and other craftsmen, especially weavers, and hence tailors, shoemakers and weavers play a rather large role in the history of true religion and of enthusiasm . . .

The bustling economic activity of a town like Elberfeld simply reinforced the local psycho-geography by attracting every kind of enthusiasm known to France and Germany. Despite this unpromising beginning, Tersteegen has distinguished himself from all the other spokesmen of the Protestant awakening of the eighteenth century, Jonathan Edwards only partially excepted, in both retaining the veneration of earnest souls, and exciting the intellectual interest of independent scholars. Both achievements, alas, have thickened the fog surrounding his intellectual and spiritual bearings. Heinrich Forsthoff, a pastor in Tersteegen's old base of Mulheim a.d. Ruhr for many years between the great twentiethcentury wars, and himself no mean Tersteegen scholar, was so incensed by parishioners who called themselves 'Tersteegen-reformed', and who moved the presbytery to give him the choice of doing penance and recalling his 'blasphemies against the dear man of God' in the pulpit and press, or resigning, as to maintain that the mystic was not a Protestant at all;4 unhappily Forsthoff not only proceeded from a very narrow definition of Protestantism, but laid about him with an emotional abandon which gave early warning of his impending emergence as one of the leading German Christians in the Rhineland.5 Had he appreciated that among Tersteegen's followers and among those who celebrated his centenary with an ode were pietist members of the Engels family,6 he might have been still fiercer. And no sooner had Tersteegen been learnedly and sympathetically coordinated into Marburg Frommigkeitsgeschicbte by Winfried Zeller, than a German Carmelite nun, based in Milan, sought to complete the rehabilitation by claiming not merely that for practical purposes Tersteegen was a Carmelite, but that the

4. H. Forsthoff, 'Der religiose Grundcharacter Tersteegens', Monatshefte fur Rbeinische Kirchengeschichte, 22 (1928), pp. 1-22. For the scholarly controversy he provoked see F. Winter, 'Die Frommigkeit Gerhard Tersteegens in ihrem Verhaltnis zur franzosisch-quietistischen Mystik', Theologische Arheiten aus dem rheinischen wissenschaftlichen Prediger-Verein, 22 (1927), pp. 1-165; idem 'Zur Frommigkeit Tersteegens and zum Problem der Mystik', Monatschefte fitr rheinische Kirchengeschichte, 22 (1928), pp. 128—43. 5. K. Scholder, The Churches and the Third Reich (Eng. tr. London, 1987-88), pp. 2, 5, 13-14, 63, 160. 6. Krug, Kritische Geschichte, p. 63; P.W. Stursberg, ed., Zur Gedachtnissfeier des hundertjahrigen Todestages Gerhard Tersteegens am 3 April 1869 (Leipzig, 1869), ode by P.C. Engels.

Mysticism and Revival: The Case of Gerhard Tersteegen


entire Protestant descriptive use of the word 'quietist' was unacceptable to her church and inaccurate.7 To negotiate, let alone clear, this latter minefield would require a greater deployment of sophisticated weaponry than the limits of an essay permit. But it may still be useful for the inquirer into Tersteegen, while treading delicately, to put a much simpler question which has not been specifically put, namely, how it happened that a man whose deepest desire was the solitary contemplation of the divine wisdom became an effective Protestant revivalist. (It is clear that, charmer though he was, he was not attractive to the Catholic ghetto in Mulheim.)8 For if, assuming that at the bottom of every man's heart there were fragments of faith and conscience dormant but not dead, the revivalists sought means to awaken them and make them effective, Tersteegen was a revivalist on a considerable scale who left an enduring mark in the lower Rhine area. The paradox that a man who practised withdrawal could be remembered in part for revival sermons jotted down by the crowds who came to hear them is explicable: it was due to Tersteegen's creative use of his position at the junction of a number of intellectual and institutional developments, and these are of considerable interest in their own right. Born at Moers in 1697, Tersteegen always lived close to several political frontiers, and came to unite in himself French, Dutch and German, as well as local, spiritual traditions. Then an Orange principality, Moers was coveted after William Ill's death by the king of Prussia, and, after a decade of interference, was taken by force in 1712.9 Though surrounded by Catholic territories belonging to the see of Cologne, the church of Moers was a small Reformed establishment (the triumph of which had been marked by the closure of the Carmelite convent in 1614). It remained, however, in Goebel's phrase, an 'appendix' of the Dutch Reformed Church,10 constantly in correspondence with that body, and maintaining Dutch rather than Prussian traditions in language, liturgy and doctrine. Part of Tersteegen's heritage was fluent Dutch as well as German. There was also the detached but dependent lordship of Krefeld. This played an active role in the history of religious revival and emigration, partly because its Mennonite congregation, protected by both the Orange and the Hohenzollern families, attracted Quakers, Baptists, Labadists, revivalists, visionaries and sectaries of every kind, forming a permanent opposition to the official order in church and state, and one capable of setting all the towns in the Ruhr area in a state of excitement. Tersteegen himself preached there in

7. G. della Croce (formerly Gerda von Brockhusen), Gerhard Tersteegen; Neubelebung der Mystik ah Ansatz einer kommenden Spiritualitdt (Bern, 1979), pp. 56, 62, 123. 8. Ibid., p. 12. 9. On Moers see O. Ottsen, Die Geschichte der Stadt Moers, 3 vols. (Moers, 1950). On the Tersteegen family, ii, pp. 118-121. 10. M. Goebel, Geschichte des christlichen Lebens in der rheinisch-westphalischen Kirche, 2 vols in 3 (Coblenz, 1849-52), ii, p. 368.


Revival and Religion since 1700

1751.11 He was, however, baptised and raised in the church of Moers, though his father, a merchant who became Stadtrentmeister, was as such, in the thick of the struggles of the lesser citizens against the patriciate who engrossed most of the power in the town. Tersteegen/?ere died in 1703, not long after Gerhard had begun his education, with the long-term consequence that the boy's ten years at the latin school led not to a professional career (as he put it, 'I never became a trade-union [ziinftig] theologian') but to apprenticeship to his brother-in-law in Mulheim, the merchant Mathias Brink. Mulheim was to be Tersteegen's base for the rest of his life, but his business relation with Brink lasted only from 1713 to 1717, always strained and finally severed by the apprentice's religious evolution, which included a kind of conversion in 1715. But he found serving God and Mammon no easier when self-employed; by the early 1720s he had withdrawn from commerce, and was supporting a straitened life-style by ribbon-weaving. In 1721 his mother died and now the only intrusion upon his solitude was the girl he needed to spin his thread. A decisive crisis was reached on Maundy Thursday 1724 when Tersteegen wrote in his own blood a covenant surrendering himself entirely to God.12 The paradox of this commitment was that it intensified Tersteegen's withdrawal from the world — he had given up his trade by 1728 — while reintroducing him to society. He took Heinrich Sommer into his house, a first step on the road to the creation of the Pilgerhutte in which laymen might live together according to a rule; and he became very actively involved in the conventicles or religious societies. Thus the development of even a Tersteegen whose ideal was withdrawal and Gelassenheit or inner peace cannot be understood apart from the peculiar institutional development of his native area, and something must be said of each.13 Born three years before Zinzendorf and six before Wesley and Jonathan Edwards, aged only thirty when Francke died in 1727, Tersteegen belonged

11. Gerhard Tersteegen, Geistliche Reden, ed. A. Loschhorn and W. Zeller (Gottingen, 1979), p. 1. 12. Scholarly doubt has been cast on the historicity of this not very singular episode, but further inquiry has given it solid support. R. Mohr, 'Tersteegens Verschreibung mit Blut und die mit ihr zusammen iiberlieferten Stiicke', Monatschefte fur evangelische Kirchengeschichte des Rheinlandes, 33 (1984), pp. 275-300. 13. The same denial of self which led Tersteegen to refuse to sit for a portrait, inhibited him from autobiography. However, two biographical reports by friends, the Lebensbeschreibung des seligen Gerhard Tersteegen and Ein kurzer Auszug und Bestatigung dieser Lebensbeschreibung were included in his Geistliche und erbauliche Briefe iiber das inwendige Leben and wahre Wesen des Christenthums ii, pp. 3-116 (Solingen, pt iii 1775) of which an English version, The Life and Character of Gerhard Tersteegen, with Selections from his Letters and Writings was made by Samuel Jackson (2nd edn, London, 1834). These reports are naturally thin on his early life. In the last year of his life his friends extracted from him a testament, an Erkldrung seines Sinnes, which was published at Elberfeld in 1818, and has not, to my knowledge, appeared in English. On this episode see H. Ludewig, Gebet und Gotteserfahrung bei Gerhard Tersteegen (Gottingen, 1986).

Mysticism and Revival: The Case of Gerhard Tersteegen


to the third generation of the renewal movement known as Pietism, to the generation which contrived, endured or opposed actual religious revival.14 By the time he came to maturity Spener's Pia Desideria seemed ancient history; in German Lutheranism a Pietist party had been formed from the wreckage of a much larger movement and had been given a sharp spiritual and institutional profile by Francke. A long series of anti-Pietist edicts in Protestant states other than Prussia had forced earnest men to choose between their church and their religious experience, and had brought many of them to a little group of Reformed principalities in the Wetterau where toleration was to be had for cash payment. They had received a new injection of religious vitality and very strange physical manifestations by contact with the French prophets, one of the elements of the Huguenot diaspora.15 As a young man Tersteegen was influenced by them or men like them, and suffered the physical trembling which was amongst their evidences of spirit possession. These disorders, however, offended against the vision of the divine wisdom to which Tersteegen had already attained, and he turned his back on them for good.16 The Protestant disaster in France was never far from the minds of the Rhineland Reformed. It had been accompanied by continual French aggression and what, in the Protestant view, were continual breaches of the religious provisions of the Westphalia settlement. In 1719 a crisis in the Palatinate, which involved the whole future of the Reformed establishment there, was pushed to the brink of what promised to be another Thirty Years War. The War of the Austrian Succession did no good to the cause of religion in the west of the empire, and in 1756 French troops were in Miilheim itself. None of the Rhineland Reformed could be sure when they might share the fate of the Huguenots; none could avoid the issues of policy and conscience which that fate entailed, least of all Tersteegen, whose mentor Pierre Poiret had taken a high-profile position on one side. Poiret, a former Reformed pastor in the Palatinate, took refuge in the Netherlands; so did Pierre Jurieu, a former professor at Sedan, who took the other side. Poiret's 'charitable advice' to Huguenots exposed to compulsory conversion was to adapt to Catholic worship.17 Confessional hostility was not the will of God; the essence of the faith was love of God and self-denial; enough had already

14. A MS note to a work by Bernieres-Louvigny in Tersteegen's library which contains a portrait of that French mystic says 'Tersteegen looked very like this'. R. Mohr, 'Gerhard Tersteegens Leben im Licht seines Werkes', Monatshefte fur evangelische Kirchengeschichte des Rheinlandes, 20/21 (1971-72), p. 197 n. 2. 15. On the French Prophets see H. Schwartz, The French Prophets (Berkeley, 1980) and Knaves, Fools, Madmen and that Subtile Effluvium (Gainesville, 1978); C. Garrett, Spirit Possession and Popular Religion (Baltimore, 1987). 'The Inspired' are discussed in my Protestant Evangelical Awakening (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 163-74, 183-84, 191-92. 16. Life of Tersteegen, p. 36. 17. P. Poiret, Avis Charitable pour soulager la conscience de ceux qui sont obligez de se conformer au culte de I'eglise Catholique-Romaine . . . (1686) repr. in his La paix des bonnes ames dans tons les parties du Christianisme sur les matieres de religion . . . (Amsterdam, 1687).


Revival and Religion since 1700

been sacrificed on the altar of Reformed shibboleths. What more ridiculous than Jurieu's apocalyptic fantasy that within three years Louis XIV would be converted to Protestantism? Jurieu indeed did not scorn the position 'I believe because I will' and hoped to awaken the new converts in France to the virtues of Reformed corporate life as it was exemplified in the assemblies of Languedoc, not to put them to sleep like Poiret.18 After his death Jurieu's widow joined the French prophets in England. Confronted by an unavoidable choice, men could be led by religious 'awakening' in diametrically opposite directions. Poiret showed incidentally that, if Spener's Pia Desideria was now ancient history, the Geneva Reformation was now very ancient history indeed. The great Reformed drive in the Rhineland had left behind a dispirited diaspora dependent on Dutch support and Swiss money; not even the remaining establishments were secure. In the safe havens the Labadist secessions in the Netherlands suggested to the elite that an establishment was no place in which to cultivate holiness, while in Hesse the Buttlar'sche Rotte went through the country, the recruits it attracted bearing witness to the failure of another Reformed establishment to satisfy the religious and personal needs of even the favoured classes.19 To their credit the Reformed pastors of the lower Rhine faced these problems with a good deal of energy and initiative. They gradually circumvented the party divisions of the Netherlands clergy, developed styles of preaching which put increased moral pressure on sections of their congregations, moved in the direction of revivalism, and made active use of the less formal elements of the Reformed heritage, especially the conventicles.20 The most distinguished of them all, Theodor Untereyck (1635-93), had a very successful ministry in Mulheim itself (1660—68), before being called to a court chaplaincy in Hesse-Cassel, and the conventicles he started were still meeting in Tersteegen's time, being put down by legislation in 1740.21 The problem was that the spiritual elites and the revivalists always recruited first 18. On this controversy see F.R.J. Knetsch, 'Pierre Poiret und sein Streit mit Pierre Jurieu iiber das Verhalten der Opfer der Zwangsbekehrungen in Frankreich nach der Aufhebung des Edikts von Nantes', in Pietismus und Reveil ed. J. van den Berg and J.P. van Dooren (Leiden, 1978), pp. 182-191. 19. On this episode see F.W. Barthold, Die Erweckten im protestantischen Deutschland wdhrend des Ausgangs des 17. und der ersten Halfte des 18. Jahrhunderts, besonders die frommen Grafenhofe (repr. from Historisches Taschenbuch ed. F. von Raumer 1852-53, Darmstadt, 1968), pp. 151-95, and my Protestant Evangelical Awakening, chap. 6. Eva von Buttlar (1660-1717) descended from a well-known but impoverished Hessian family and made an early and disastrous marriage with the French-Reformed dancing master at the corrupt Eisenach court. In 1697 she resolved to live as a holy woman, and five years later took her spiritual circle, including her lover, a theologian called Winter, and a medical student from Jena, with her. She gave out that they were God the Father and God the Son, while she was God the Holy Spirit. It was alleged that these spiritual unions were blessed with natural offspring who were disposed of by murder. Many of the group ultimately converted to Catholicism. 20. For references to the literature see my paper, 'Pastoral Office and General Priesthood in the Great Awakening', Studies in Church History, 26 (1989), pp. 314-16. 21. Goebel, Christliches Leben, ii pp. 300-12.

Mysticism and Revival: The Case of Gerhard Tersteegen


among the virtuosi gathered in the conventicles; in Mulheim it was the former, the Labadists, who came in divisively as soon as Untereyck was gone, and by the beginning of the eighteenth century there were church and non-church conventicles in Mulheim, Duisburg and all round the area. There seemed to be all too many assorted fishers of men. One of them, Heinrich Horche, had been influenced by Untereyck himself, and was appointed to a chair at the Reformed seminary at Herborn; but he began to succumb to dreams and visions, was dismissed from all his church offices in 1697, and began to gather philadelphian congregations in Hesse and Nassau.22 One of his friends was Samuel Konig, the most distinguished of a modest tribe of Swiss victims of Reformed high orthodoxy, who came to the lower Rhine looking for toleration and openings for private enterprise. Another was Hochmann von Hochenau (1670-1721), a separatist, chiliast, enthusiast and early revivalist, who scoured the whole area in the days of Tersteegen's youth.23 Hochmann, like Tersteegen, rejected the Inspirationists of the Wetterau, but in 1716 he was in touch with the theologians at Marburg, pleading for them to be given a more impartial hearing than they seemed likely to get.24 The word 'impartial' or 'unconfessional' (unpartbeyisch) was a technical term important to the young Tersteegen. If the political prospects of the Reformed churches in the lower Rhine were at best uncertain, their spiritual outlook was also bleak. The Untereycks of the church might do their best, and in 1676 the synod of Mark might oblige its members not only to orthodoxia but also to the studium pietatis,25 but still the exquisites (feine) of the spiritual world went their own way, and nothing could save the last ditch defenders of the Reformed cause in France from apocalyptic fantasies. Nor was there any clear advantage in the separatism of those who had abandoned the legal churches of the empire in favour of disciplinary scruples like the New Baptists26 or the physical excitements of immediate spirit-possession like the Inspired.27 Both the Orthodox and the separatists displayed an unholy readiness to 22. C.W.H. Hochhuth, Heinrich Horche und die philadelphischen Gemeinden in Hesse (Giitersloh, 1876). 23. H. Renkewitz, Hochmann von Hochenau (Breslau, 1934; repr. Witten, 1969). 24. H. Schneider, 'Hochmann von Hochenau and Inspirationism: A Newly Discovered Letter', Brethren Life and Thought, 25 (1980), pp. 199-222. 25. H. Heppe, Geschichte der evangelischen Kirche von Cleve-Mark und der Provinz Westphalen (Iserlohn, 1867), pp. 246-47; idem, Geschichte des Pietismus und der Mystik in der reformierten Kirche, namentlich der Niederlande (Leiden, 1879), p. 484. Orthodoxia implied agreement with the church ordinances and the Heidelberg catechism; the studium pietatis involved the study of works of 'spiritual rebirth, faith and renewal', many of them of puritan provenance. Idem, Zur Geschichte der evangelischen Kirche Rheinlands und Westphalens (Iserlohn, 1867-70) i, p. 185. 26. On whom see M.G. Brumbaugh, A History of the German Baptist Brethren in Europe and America (Mount Morris, IL, 1899); D. Durnbaugh, The European Origins of the Brethren (Elgin, IL, 1958); W.G. Willoughby, Counting the Cost; The Life of Alexander Mack, 1679-1735 (Elgin, IL, 1979). 27. Still best treated in M. Goebel, 'Geschichte der wahren Inspirations-Gemeinden von 1688 bis 1850: Als ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des christlichen Lebens aus bisher unbenutzten Quellen', Zeitschrift fur die histonsche Theologie n.s, 18 (1854), pp. 267-322, 377-438; 19 (1855), pp. 94-160, 327-419.


Revival and Religion since 1700

excommunicate, and even the Halle Pietists, persecuted remnant as in many ways they were, clung to Francke's analysis of the Christian life, and especially the Busskampf and conversion for more than they were worth. If Christianity was to be a way to God, let alone a way to maturity,28 it must be something other than these. For Tersteegen that way proved to be 'true Christianity' (another technical term), and the entrance to it was found in the conventicles outside the Reformed church. In Mulheim pietist clergy had kept the conventicle movement within the church with fair success down to 1708 when Pastor Schaaf died and was succeeded by an orthodox incumbent. The adherents of the conventicles, stimulated by visits from Hochmann, now had no clergy to their taste; the unnatural vacuum was filled by the Candidate Wilhelm Hoffmann. He was a convert of Hochmann, who had been unable to complete his theological education and receive a regular call because he was unwilling to subscribe the Heidelberg Catechism and the church order (the ortbodoxia), and by 1713—14 he was in open conflict with the Duisburg classis and the synod of Kleves., Hoffmann, indeed, cut the bond with Reformed churchmanship, offering a diet of Poiret, Bernieres-Louvigny, and Madame Guyon. His breach with church authority was profitable, for his followers in Mulheim rallied to him, built him a better meeting-room, and raised money for his support.29 In turn he linked them with a wide circle of correspondents and friends especially in the Netherlands.30 Hoffmann had great influence with Tersteegen as long as he lived, and bequeathed him his circle of friends. Moreover his doctrine was the kind of thing Tersteegen had been seeking. The mysticism offered by Hoffmann spoke to his personal need and also to the issues of policy which vexed the Reformed of the lower Rhine. Luther's problem was to grasp how a righteous God could be gracious to him; Tersteegen's problem was to realise the presence of God in a universe from which cosmologists and atheists seemed to be excluding him, and to which the physico-theologicans could bring him back only at the end of a long argument. The mystics enabled Tersteegen early to realise the presence of God so vividly that it became the central stay of his life. The most popular hymn he ever wrote both in Germany and in the Anglo-Saxon world, where the English version was made by the young Wesley in Georgia, commences: Lo, God is here! Let us adore, And own how dreadful is this place!31 28. D. Hoffmann, Der Weg zur Reife: Eine religionspsychologische Untersuchung der religiosen Entivicklung Gerhard Tersteegens (Lund, 1982). 29. C.P. van Andel, Gerhard Tersteegen. Leben und Werk — sein Platz in der Kirchengeschichte (German version, Diisseldorf, 1973), pp. 17-18. 30. F. Nieper, Die ersten deutschen Auswanderer von Krefeld nach Pennsylvanien: Ein Bild aus der religiosen Ideengeschichte des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts (Neukirchen, 1940), pp. 232, 237; Goebel, Christliches Leben, ii, p. 356. 31. In the original: Gott ist gegenwartig! Lasset uns anbeten, und in ehrfurcht vor ihn treten.

Mysticism and Revival: The Case of Gerhard Tersteegen


And he could happily report: How radiant am I, that I know that 'God is!' and that I can make this confession that 'God is!' Hearken all ye creatures: 'God is!' I gladly grant, Oh my God that you are . . . Oh how splendid it is ... that you are and that you are who you are! I would rather that I were not than that you shouldst not be.32

This conviction was powerful enough in Tersteegen to need no buttressing by considerations of convenience or policy, but harmonised well with both. If confessional organisation was fragile, it was also irrelevant to the great business of realising the presence of God; fine souls had attained to that vision in all confessions and in none, and those who had gone to the root of the matter in a Protestant milieu need neither fear nor surrender their reason to apocalyptic fantasies if that milieu fell victim to one more French aggression. More generally, it is now clear from the bibliographical history of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, that the professionalised Protestant orthodoxies had little relevance to the way ordinary Protestants tried to live. They had stayed themselves against a century of terrible defeats and trials on a diet of pre-Reformation spiritual writing either imbibed direct through classics like Thomas a Kempis or indirectly through Puritan writings or the endlessly popular Johann Arndt.33 Arndt's Four (later Six) Books of True Christianity (1606) gave the technical name ('true Christianity') to the living tradition to which Tersteegen appealed, while his own definition of mysticism as 'nothing other than practical theology or the exercise of godliness so far as it is based on grace or the transformation of the heart' has a curiously English and Puritan ring about it.34 The other slogan was supplied by Gottfried Arnold who had sensationally attempted to demonstrate the historical basis of this tradition of 'true Christianity' among both churches and the heretics they had purged in his Unparteyische Kirchen- und Ketzer-Historie (1699-1700); in his first work after his covenant with God in 1724, the Unpartheiischer Abriss Christlicher Grundwahrheiten (first published posthumously in 1801), Tersteegen self-consciously adopted the un- or supra-confessional standpoint. Moreover in the Lower Rhine area the existence of a large popular market for this kind of religion is attested by direct evidence. Jung-Stilling, surgeon and economist, who came out of this milieu, described the charcoal-burners, away from home six days in the week, under the stars in the forest cultivating an inner ecstasy in their solitude,35 consumed by related intellectual problems like perpetual motion or squaring the circle.36 Jung-Stilling's father was a

32. Hoffmann, Weg der Wahrheit (1750), p. 302. 33. For a fuller development of this argument, with references, see my Protestant Evangelical Awakening, pp. 46-50. 34. Hoffman, Weg der Wahrheit, p. 274. 35. Johann Heinrich Jung-Stilling, Lehensgeschichte, ed. G.A. Benrath (2nd edn, Darmstadt, 1984), pp. 2-3, 55, 650. 36. Ibid., p. 20.


Revival and Religion since 1700

loyal church attender, but 'warlich nicht partheyisch',37 and Jung-Stilling himself in his own old age was quite prepared to accept the assurances of the Behmenists of Gorlitz that their local hero had taught nothing contrary to the Augsburg Confession and had been unjustly persecuted by the clergy.38 He exaggerated only modestly when he reported of this period a 'universal religious excitement in Germany which never attracted the attention of the learned and the talented', in that part of the nation . . . who disagreed with the symbols of the church . . . and was far greater than those gentlemen imagine who now thank heaven that the clear light of infidelity has so far extended as to allow no more place to the whimsical notions of the gospel.39

What then was the substance of the ideas which Tersteegen took on board, and with what other spiritual options did he blend them? The two writers who initiated Tersteegen into the mystical life were Pierre Poiret and (the young, radical) Gottfried Arnold. Tersteegen plundered, and immersed himself in, the works of those 'great men and dear witnesses of God among the Protestants', who also influenced each other, and were two of the innumerable gateways by which modern Catholic mysticism and forgotten resources of the early church came back into the Protestant world. As we have seen, Arnold provided both the short-title and the substance of Tersteegen's view of church history, and directed his attention to the lives of the saints as the core of the matter. Crucial to Tersteegen's life-style were two other legacies. Arnold had acquired the idea of the divine Sophia from the English Behmenists,40 and, more importantly, had had an intense and fiery vision of his own in which wisdom had led him by the hand to recover that lost unity of the divine nature which guaranteed immortality to the regenerate.41 The heavenly Sophia was a female figure inherited by the Christian church from the Old Testament Apocrypha, and had been the subject of visions powerful enough to break through the strict patriarchalism of the Jewish religion of law. She was a figure like the Logos at God's side. In I Cor. 1:24, 30 the wisdom was identified with Christ, which occasioned confusing changes of gender in the literary descriptions of the vision,42 but there were always souls 37. Ibid., p. 60. 38. Ibid., p. 638. 39. Heinrich [Jung-] Stilling, Theobald or the Fanatic, tr. S. Schaeffer (Philadelphia, 1846), pp. 32, 19. 40. E. Seeberg, Gottfried Arnold, die Wissenschaft und die Mystik seiner Zeit (Meerane i. Sa., 1923), pp. 23-24. 41. The fruits of this vision were reported in Das Geheimnis der gottlichen Sophia (1700) (a work the publication of which Arnold regretted in his late, married and office-holding period) and briefly in Unpartheyische Kirchen- und Ketzer-Historie (Frankfurt edn, 1700-15), pt. ii p. 601. 42. An English example of this occurs in Charles Wesley's hymn, 'Happy the man that finds the grace', no. 674 in the current British Methodist hymn-book, Hymns and Psalms, where wisdom is feminine until the last line, where she is identified with Christ.

Mysticism and Revival: The Case of Gerhard Tersteegen


who claimed to see deeper, and to perceive that the eternal generation of Christ within the Godhead was the work of wisdom, Sophia, Arnold's first 'Eva'. In the West Sophiology was overshadowed by the much newer Mariology, but it was kept up in the Eastern Orthodox churches,43 and made by Jakob Bohme the foundation of his cosmology, anthropology and salvation history. The androgynous character of Sophia was now important; it enabled the radicals to plead for an absolute commitment to a heavenly bride (or bridegroom) to the exclusion of earthly marriage, and for the recovery by each sex of the androgynous unity of mankind lost with primitive innocence in the Fall.44 Celibacy on these terms was not only the way to the true vision of God, it was the way to the pure continuance of the race. Thus Tersteegen's single life was not an accident, but an inevitable consequence of his covenant concluded with Christ, and part of his Arnoldian inheritance.45 It was a similar story with Makarios the Egyptian.46 Makarios was a Greek Father reprinted in the sixteenth century, widely read in the seventeenth, and taken up on a great scale in the pietistic movement of the early eighteenth century. J.R. Pritius, senior of Frankfurt, and a follower of Spener, produced an edition in 1714; Arnold produced a translation with emblems indicating that it put the church to the test, which went to a third edition in 1716.47 Makarios was the most widely read of the wilderness Fathers through whom the ideal of the solitary, eremetic life was reborn in Protestantism. They had fled from a church conformed to the world to recreate in small wildernessfellowships the true Christian ascetic ideal. On both the negative and the positive sides this aspiration was important to Tersteegen. It showed that the unconfessional 'true Christianity' went back to the beginning, was actually the 'theology of Adam', and it could be understood as meaning that the true wilderness was within; the road within, a road of suffering indeed, led to being engulfed in God. Not that, like all the Pietists of his generation, Tersteegen was unaware that there was a new wilderness-refuge recently to hand in America; he corresponded with Krefeld friends who had gone out to the Protestant communities founded at Ephrata and Conestoga in Pennsylvania,48 just as Wesley, under the impulse of Makarios and another solitary highly

43. British students, now inured to incessant kindly intrusions by the security officers in the British Library, may be encouraged to learn that the celebrated Russian theologian Soloviev was vouchsafed a vision of Sophia in the Reading Room as recently as 1875. 44. For a fuller development of this theme see E. Benz, Die Vision: Erfahrungsformen und Bilderwelt (Stuttgart, 1969), pp. 575-86. 45. Mohr, Tersteegens Leben im Licht seines Werkes', pp. 220-27. 46. Makarios is briefly introduced by R. Newton Flew, The Idea of Perfection in Christian Theology: An Historical Study of the Christian Ideal for the Present Life (2nd edn, Oxford, 1968), pp. 179-88. 47. On this phase of the reception of Makarios, see E. Benz, Die protestantische Thebais: Zur nachwirkung Makarios des Agypters im Protestantismus des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts (Wiesbaden, 1963). 48. P.C. Erb, 'Gerhard Tersteegen, Christopher Saur, and Pennsylvania Sectarians', Brethren Life and Thought, 20 (1975) pp. 153-57.


Revival and Religion since 1700

prized by Tersteegen, Gregory Lopez, went to pursue Christian perfection in Georgia.49 If Arnold introduced Tersteegen to the mystical authors of the German tradition and the writers to whom they laid claim, a much broader catchment area was opened by Pierre Poiret (1646-1719). Poiret was a curious character, perhaps underrated by the literary historians, who turns up constantly around the fringes of the revival movements.50 Poiret was born and educated in Metz and, after a brief period as a language teacher in Alsace, studied theology in Basel 1664-67, and in 1672 became pastor of a French Reformed congregation at Annweiler in the Palatinate. In 1676, however, he was travelling with Antoinette Bourignon, the Belgian mystic and separatist, and after she died in 1780 he settled in Amsterdam. His great achievement in the next decade was to publish the works of Bourignon in nineteen volumes. When his own wife died in 1688, he moved to a little community of collegiant separatists at Rijnsburg near Leiden, where he stayed for the rest of his life. In the last decade of the seventeenth century he developed his interest in Jakob Bohme, but also took up with romance, and especially French, mystics, and wrote very successful books on the religious education of children. In the last twenty years of his life he feverishly followed the great conflict between Bossuet and Fenelon, and produced the complete works of Madame Guyon.51 His own index of mystical works was almost as complete as could be made at the time;52 his own interior life developed along the lines of the authors he so frenetically published; he attracted disciples and developed contacts with men of like mind. This was of fundamental importance to our present subject, because on his death his library passed to one of them, Gerhard Tersteegen. Poiret's notable work in putting a great body of spiritual literature back 49. Wesley included both writers in his Christian Library, and made extensive excerpts from Gregory Lopez in his Arminian Magazine for 1780. 50. Wesley's friend, the Manchester clergyman, John Clayton, wrote about him, and a considerable range of English and Scottish readers used his work, A. Hamilton, 'Hie'l in England, 1657-1810', Quaerendo, 15 (1986), pp. 290-93; he was a friend of J.J. Schiitz, Spener's collaborator, who separated and dabbled in Labadism, M. Wieser, Peter Poiret: Der Vater der romanischen Mystik in Deutschland (Munich, 1932), p. 44; Samuel Urlsperger, later senior of Augsburg, and the great patron of the Salzburgers in Georgia, sustained his disputation on him and Locke injudicium sine affecttt de duohus adversariis Job. Lockio & Poetro Poireto eorumque pugna de ratione et fide, pro materia disputationis . . . (Tubingen, 1708). The first biography was by Joachim Lange, one of the conservatives among the second generation theologians at Halle, in Petri Pioreti posthuma (Amsterdam, 1721), pp. 1-54). Fifty years later his works adorned the library and sustained the reading of the young Goethe's pious friend, Suzanne von Klettenberg. Pol Oury, 'Le role joue par Pierre Poiret, Gottfried Arnold et Gerhard Tersteegen dans la diffusion, en Allemagne, au XVIIIe siecle, de la spiritualite mystique des pays de langue romane', in De Lessing a Heine: Un siecle de relations litteraires et intellectuelles entre France et I'Allemagne, ed. J. Moes and J.M. Valentin (Paris, 1985), p. 94. 51. On this literary effort see G.A. Krieg, Der mystische Kreis: Wesen und Werden der Theologie Pierre Poirets (Gottingen, 1978), pp. 20-49; E. Schering, 'Pietismus und die Renaissance der Mystik: Pierre Poiret als Interpret und Wegbereiter der romanischen Mystik in Deutschland', in Pietismus-Herrnhutertum-Erweckungshewegung: Festschrift fiir Erich Beyreuther, ed. Dietrich Meyer (Cologne, 1982), pp. 39-70. 52. Wieser, Poiret, pp. 226-38.

Mysticism and Revival: The Case of Gerhard Tersteegen


into circulation was reinforced by Arnold and Tersteegen. None of them was a wealthy patron of letters indulging a whim, and it is a major question why a market for this kind of thing could be developed at this time. There was no doubt much distaste for Protestant high orthodoxy and the endlessly differentiating Aristotelian logic from which it seemed inseparable; here were immediate reports of religious experience, however unfamiliar.53 If, however, Protestant orthodoxy was bad, modern Catholic orthodoxy was worse; the modern mystics now taken into Protestant readership, Madame Guyon, Antoinette Bourignon and, a little earlier, Molinos, had all fallen foul of church authority.54 Poiret clearly regarded himself as part of the defence of Madame Guyon after Fenelon had failed, while in the minds of many ordinary Protestants the suspicion that there was merit in the mystics must have been encouraged by hostility to Catholic authority. Confessional hostility, moreover, was in this special area part of a larger hostility to court culture in which French influence was dominant. Nothing could have done more for the attractiveness of French mysticism in the German equivalent of English 'country party' circles, than the aping of Louis XIV, the great hammer of the mystics, in German courts.55 Still more generally the importations were part of that immense self-inflicted cultural bombardment on which German thought and German religion cut its teeth in the eighteenth century, a very large element of which was in fact British and Puritan.56 Part of the attraction of Puritan practical theology was the medieval spiritual tradition which it retained. This, like the romance mysticism mediated by Poiret, was grist to the mill of that unconfessional, 'true', Christianity by which so many Protestants lived.57 With this background and the possession of Poiret's books and papers much, though not all, of Tersteegen's future career was predictable. Biography, autobiography and collective biography were familiar pietist genres for giving concrete substance to the spiritual life, and for assisting the class-leader to

53. Benz, Protestantische Thebais, 8; H. Heppe, Geschichte der quietistischen Mystik in der katholischen Kirche (Berlin, 1875; repr. Hildesheim, 1978), pp. 487-89. 54. Giovanna della Croce's recent attempt to minimise the scope of official condemnations would have carried little weight with Protestants of that day appalled by the operations of church authority, and believing that the Bull Unigenitus had required men to believe things they knew were not true. She believes, however, that in the Catholic world this kind of mysticism arose as a 'reaction against medieval school-theology and a rational asceticism of the will which suppressed the deeper forces of human nature'. Tersteegen, pp. 123-24 and n. 111. In a forthcoming paper I trace the influence of these French mystics upon British Jacobites. 55. This theme is developed in V. Kapp, 'Der Einfluss der franzosischen Spiritualitat auf deutsches Geistesleben des 18. Jahrhunderts', Wolfenbiitteler Studien zur Aufklarung, 11 (1989), pp.26-28. 56. On this see my Protestant Evangelical Awakening, pp. 10-13. 57. Rudolf Mohr following Martin Schmidt, 'Teilnahme an der gottlichen Natur', in his Wiedergeburt und neuer Mensch (Witten, 1969), pp. 238-98 pleads for this reception of mysticism to be regarded as the adoption of an appropriate outward form for the inner Protestant faith ('Gerhard Tersteegens Leben im Licht seines Werkes', pp. 217-18); but does not explain why it proved attractive at this particular time.


Revival and Religion since 1700

advise anxious inquirers where they stood in the Christian pilgrimage.58 Withdrawn from the world, Tersteegen followed Poiret in a prolific publishing career, the great achievement of which was the three huge volumes of Auserlesene Lebensbeschreibungen heiliger Seelen (1733-54; 3rd edn, Essen, 1784-86). No more massive testimony against the speculative pursuit of God could be imagined. In Arnoldian style Tersteegen observed that 'the biographies of such souls not only cast great light upon church history, but actually are church history'.59 The final collection ran to thirty-four Lives, all Catholic, eighteen pre-Reformation and sixteen Counter-Reformation. Giovanna della Croce perceived a decisive turn to Carmelite piety in the second volume,60 and there is no doubt that St Teresa of Jesus and St John of the Cross were dear to him. What is perhaps more striking is the consistency with which the great enterprise was pursued. Two objects guided the whole undertaking. The first was concretely to set forth 'true Christianity': The essential truths of the inward life — the complete denial of the world, dying to one-self, the basic virtues, God's leadings over his elect, to purify them of their peculiarities, to unite them with himself, to reveal the miracles of his grace and love in them and through them . . . these truths are the truths of faith, based on God's word and on experience.61

In a 'Short Report on Mysticism' written just before his death Tersteegen's doctrine was just the same. Mystics were men and women who did not rest content with the basic presupposition of reconciliation in Christ, 'they say little, they do and suffer much, they practice complete self-denial, they pray without ceasing, private intercourse with God in Christ is their whole secret'.62 Having elected to exemplify 'true Christianity' in a gallery of saints all of whom were Catholic, Tersteegen could not avoid a dogged defence in all three volumes against the charge that he had betrayed the Protestant cause. It was not, he explained, that there were no saints among the Protestants. His saints had been chosen for their sanctity, not for a denominational affiliation. God was not the prisoner or property of a post-Tridentine church which upheld scholastic traditions as hostile to the mystic way as anything in Protestantism. Traditions of spiritual direction, however, made it easier to report the ways of interior souls from Catholic sources, while the long Catholic time-scale was an enormous encouragement to the oppressed who might feel that the way to holiness had been barred. It showed that 58. This theme is developed in the early part of my introduction to Wesley's Journal. Works of John Wesley (Bicentennial ed.), IS, Journal & Diaries, i, pp. 1-36. 59. Tersteegen, Auserlesene Lebensbeschreibungen (3rd edn) i, p. ix. 60. Van Andel, Tersteegen, pp. 56, 62. 61. Tersteegen, Auserlesene Lebensbeschreibungen, i, p. xiii. 62. Reprinted in 'Gerhard Tersteegens kurzer Bericht von der Mystik', ed. E. Jungclassen, Una Sancta, 43 (1988), pp. 18-23.

Mysticism and Revival: The Case of Gerhard Tersteegen


God's inner workings depend on no outward circumstances: Here we see saints in the palace, and saints in the wilderness; saints in wedlock and saints in the monastery; saints in the church, in the chamber, in the kitchen, on the streets, in business, everywhere . . . If we have but Christ and his cross we have means enough to entire sanctification . . . God wants saints in every social level.63

In dealing with patristic and Reformation authors Tersteegen perforce took short cuts and made use of second-hand compendiums; but in the cause nearest to his heart, displaying the true church of true saints, he achieved a good level of original textual scholarship.64 The Select Lives would have been a sufficient labour for most men, even those not pledged to withdrawal into the interior life; it was only part of that of Tersteegen. His verse has been reckoned among the best products of German lyricism before Goethe, his hymns the peak achievement of a pietist movement rich in hymnody. For a spokesman of the eremetic ideal, Tersteegen had a high estimate of work, including the physical labour which God had ordained in the Garden of Eden before the Fall. He thought well of that hero of John Wesley, the Marquis de Renty, who offered a model of how to combine the interior life with a temporal calling. He devoted himself to the pastoral care of individuals and conventicles throughout the lower Rhine area and into the Netherlands.65 His enormous correspondence extended from Sweden to America. He was suspicious of the enjoyment of this world's goods, and practised a life-style so straitened that he had always something to spare for others. He developed an expertise in the medical treatment of the poor much more professional than that common among the pioneers of revival movements.66 Indifferent to ecclesiastical niceties, Tersteegen did not make shibboleths of the details of his own lifestyle, and was able to minister with ease to the opulent in the Netherlands (who did much to support him financially) and could leave the management of his work after his death to the pious Everstens in the Wuppertal, who as family men, substantial bleachers and ribbon-manufacturers, and loyal supporters of the church, appeared to embody everything on which he had turned his back.67

63. Tersteegen, Auserlesene Lebensbeschreibungen, i, pp. xiii-xiv, xvii, xxi. Cf. ii, preface, para. 2. Tersteegen had to open vol. 3 with an approbation from Luther to the effect that Protestants had inherited 'all Christian good' from Popery. 64. Van Andel, Tersteegen, pp. 235-36. 65. For an example of this see J.C. Stahlschmidt, A Pilgrimage by Sea and Land tr. J. Jackson (London, 1837), pp. 147-49. Cf. Winfried Zeller, 'Johann Christian Stahlschmidt und Gerhard Tersteegen', Pietismus und Neuzeit, i (1974), pp. 114-24 repr. in W. Zeller, Theologie und Frommigkeit (Marburg, 1971-8), ii, pp. 207-217. 66. Christa Habrich, 'Zur Bedeutung medizinischer Bemiihungen im Wirken Gerhard Tersteegens', Journal, 12 (1977), pp. 263-79. Tersteegen's prescription books have unfortunately disappeared during the last hundred years, but it seems clear that he was a commendably cautious prescriber. 67. An attractive account of them is given in Robert Steiner, 'Johann Engelbert Eversten, der Freund von Gerhard Tersteegen', Monatshefte fur evangelische Kirchengeschichte des Rhemlandes, 29 (1980), pp. 29-76.


Revival and Religion since 1700

None of this need have made Tersteegen a revivalist, but it affords the clue to the final turn in his career. For most of the achievement by which this sturdy denier of self and the world is now remembered was (paradoxically or not) demand-led. Tersteegen was quite genuinely asked to publish his poems, the request mirroring the market with such accuracy that his Blumengdrtlein went through seven editions in his lifetime, eight more before the middle of the nineteenth century and, in the standard German edition, at least fifteen since then. Again, something needed to be done for the worship of the conventicles, and to this end a new hymn-book, the Big Neander, was produced at Elberfeld in 1721. Tersteegen took hold of the second edition in 1736, by the time of his death the book had reached a fifth edition, trebled in size and 100 of the hymns were his own.68 This was still more the case with the conventicles, the context of his own conversion. As we have seen, the conventicles had since very early days been a normal part of ordinary Reformed church life. The Labadist movement had given a double impetus to the conventicles all over the lower Rhine area and East Friesland, giving birth to many new cells of religious virtuosi, and ultimately goading the established clergy into establishing more church Bible-classes to meet the new competition.69 Labadie's movement was a secessionist not a revivalist one, but it is clear that besides adding to the number of informal religious associations his plea for stricter discipleship evoked a response in innumerable people who would go in a different direction. His Manual of Piety was the first translation undertaken not only by Tersteegen but also by Spener,70 and his movement encouraged a far-reaching change of sentiment about the nature of the church. What had once been prized as the legal establishment of pure doctrine, was now seen to serve the conversion and cultivation of souls, or to serve no useful purpose at all.71 Poiret's work had generated more groups of this kind. The various streams of separatist piety had begun to flow together in the lower Rhine about 1700, and to generate through the conventicles a religious impulse in which Tersteegen himself had been converted. The Candidate Hoffmann managed to contrive and superintend

68. Von Andel, Tersteegen, pp. 220-21. Tersteegen believed not only that in his day hymn-singing had fallen into utter decay, but that the saints should have a hymn-book which they could use, along with the Bible, for devotional reading. Zeller, Theologie und Frommigkeit, i, p. 189. 69. Heppe, Pietismus und Mystik pp. 394-97, 483. On East Friesland see W. Hollweg, Die Geschichte des alteren Pietismus in den Reformierten Gemeinden Ostfrieslands . . . (Aurich, 1978), pp. 121-31; A. de Boer, Der Pietismus in Ostfriesland am Ende des 17. und in der ersten Hdlfte des 18. Jahrhunderts . . . (Aurich, 1938), pp. 184-91. Menno Smid, Ostfriesische Kirchengeschichte (Pewsum, 1974), pp. 329-32, 352-55, interestingly stresses the influence of Bourignon and the mission of William Penn, in circumstances in which the state-church concept was crumbling. 70. Von Andel, Tersteegen, p. 21; Paul Grunberg, Philipp Jakob Spener, 3 vols (Gottingen, 1893-1906), i, p. 170. 71. W. Goeters, Die Vorbereitung des Pietismus in der Reformierten Kirche der Niederlande . . . (Leipzig, 1911; repr. Amsterdam, 1974), pp. 283-84.

Mysticism and Revival: The Case of Gerhard Tersteegen


revivals, and to call for Tersteegen's assistance with the pastoral responsibilities which they created. The second of these, between 1725 and 1727, extended over the whole area of Berg, including the valleys of the Ruhr and the Wupper, and now Tersteegen had to act as speaker as well as pastor.72 It was a similar story with a notable revival in Elberfeld, 1733-34; contrived by others, it needed Tersteegen's advice and assistance.73 From a personal point of view Tersteegen was doubtless heartily relieved at a severe sharpening of the law against conventicles in 1740, which made the continuance of house-meetings impossible,74 though it did tempt him off to the Netherlands more often. Certainly when high-pressure revival drew him out again in 1751 he wrote: The hungry craving of souls forced me to become a public speaker again in my last years contrary to all my seeking and thinking. The same craving forces me now to print and circulate one of the addresses I gave.75

The permanent monument to this craving became one of the most interesting of Tersteegen's publications, the Geistliche Reden. Despite all the changes of sentiment and the spiritual tremors of the previous fifty years, a substantial outburst of religious enthusiasm in the lower Rhine area proved to be dependent on the outbreak of revival in the Netherlands; and the now very conservative Dutch church depended in its turn on impulses from the Reformed churches in New England and in Scotland. In the middle and later 1740s, however, revival began in the Netherlands,76 and in the work of Wilhelmus Schortinghuis (1700-50)77 and Gerardus Kuypers evoked a vivid response in East Friesland. In 1747 however there were considerable movements in Barmen and Berg, which led to a great revival in Duisburg, Miilheim and the neighbourhood in which Tersteegen found himself brought out after the event to be the representative and leader. The old conventicle circles were reasserting themselves and taking him with them. In 1750 the excitement came to a head with the arrival of Jakob Chevalier, a Dutch theological student from Duisburg, the son of an Amsterdam merchant. Then, and until authority intervened, Tersteegen had to become a real revivalist at last, his addresses not shunning the title of Erweckungsreden. 72. Goebel, Christliches Leben, iii, p. 341. 73. Ibid., iii, p. 385. 74. The contretemps which led to this change was occasioned by an aristocratic friend of Tersteegen, Count Ludwig Friedrich zu Castell am Main. Breaking a journey to the Netherlands at Solingen and Elberfeld, he was tempted to address some very successful house-meetings. The Catholic authorities had him arrested and imprisoned in Diisseldorf. Their legislation was upheld for the Prussian territories by Frederick II. Ludwig Friedrich's seat, now Schloss Castell-Schwanberg, became the home of a Lutheran sisterhood in 1962. Van Andel, Tersteegen, p. 47; Goebel, Christliches Leben, iii, p. 392. 75. Ibid., iii, p. 406. 76. For an account of this see my Protestant Evangelical Awakening, pp. 237-40. 77. There were points at which the mystical theology of Schortinghuis came close to that of Tersteegen. Jiirgen Moltmann, 'Grundziige mystischer Theologie bei Gerhard Tersteegen', Evangelische Theologie, 16 (1956), p. 216.


Revival and Religion since 1700

These addresses show clearly enough Tersteegen's singular position among the revivalists. The professionals from whom he needed to distinguish himself were the Moravians. Zinzendorf had spared no pains to recruit him by sending a special envoy in 1737, but to no effect. No one could have been less responsive to Moravian claims to have discovered a quick method of conversion, and the fireworks and feasting of Moravian life (especially at Herrnhaag, not far from Tersteegen's beat) in the late 1740s, which to Zinzendorf were the joyous fruit of relieving believers of unnecessary religious burdens, appeared to Tersteegen simply frivolous.78 Most of the Anglo-Saxon revivalists had sought a result by compressing the decisive stage in the spiritual life into the period known as the New Birth and, following Francke, Halle Pietism had insisted on the Busskampf or penitential struggle as the decisive gateway to religious progress. Nothing seemed to Tersteegen worse than mistaking the beginning of the Christian life, a conversion with or without Busskampf, for the end.79 Tersteegen was in fact making Wesley's call for Christian Perfection without the abrasiveness with which Wesley tended to make it. Many, he held, had been converted but had not received the Holy Spirit.80 Tersteegen was a great admirer of Bunyan: he insisted that what commenced with conversion was a long pilgrimage, Bunyan-style, characterised on the one side by denial of the world and self,81 and on the other by taking the fruits of the spirit out of the conventicle and prayer-chamber into the kitchen and the field.82 This doctrine accorded not only with the cast of Tersteegen's mind but with his estimate of the public he addressed. His core-congregation consisted of the religious societies, the members of which were not without religious experience or theological knowledge. To revive their faith and to stop them settling on the lees, it was crucial to save them from the illusion that there was no more to the spiritual life than they knew already. And to charm his call for self-denial Tersteegen deployed all his eloquence to describe the 'grace-reward', the companionship of the living Christ mediated by the Holy Spirit.83 A man may be more or may be less than the sum of the historical forces which have gone into his making. The crowds which waited at Tersteegen's door for food, physic or spiritual counsel, and the grace which still shines through his printed word, alike testify that there was more to him than his pedigree. Demand-led or spirit-driven, the mature Tersteegen was himself an auserlesenes Leben.

78. Van Andel, Tersteegen, pp. 123, 166; Jackson, Life of Tersteegen, p. 38-41. 79. Tersteegen, Geistliche Reden, pp. 36-7. 80. Ibid., pp. 499-500. 81. Ibid., pp. 597-98. 82. Ibid., p. 544. 83. Ibid., p. 565.


Charity, Custom, and Humanity: Changing Attitudes towards the Poor in Eighteenth-Century England Deborah Valenze

Now the Cause of such general or national Luxury, is solely owing to too great an Inequality of Property, by which too many are enabled to live excessively splendid, whilst the rest, having much less than they want, are too much depress'd and sunk; so that whilst one Side are almost adored for their Wealth, the other are almost abhorred for their Poverty; and . . . it can't be expected, but that the adored Part of Mankind will necessarily be imitated, beyond proper Limits, by most of those between these Extreams; and this compleats the Notion of Luxury hurtful to Society.' Jacob Vanderlint, Money Answers All Things (1734).

The Methodists grow more and more self-indulgent, because they grow rich. Although many of them are still deplorably poor, . . . yet many others, in the space of twenty, thirty, or forty years, are twenty, thirty, yea, a hundred times richer than they were when they first entered the society. And it is an observation which admits of few exceptions, that nine in ten of these decreased in grace in the same proportion as they increased in wealth. Indeed, according to the natural tendency of riches, we cannot expect it to be otherwise.' John Wesley, 'Causes of the Inefficacy of Christianity', July 2, 1789.

The Destruction of the Poor is their Poverty. Proverbs 10:15.

When John Wesley lamented, in his late sermons, the love of money and the lack of charity shown towards the poor among his followers, he invoked principles as old as sermonising itself. Condemning the mounting wealth of some followers alongside the deepening poverty of others, he mourned the tendency of human nature to luxuriate in affluence. He pleaded that the fruits of remunerative labour be shared more equitably among the needy. Citing Scripture, he warned that wealth worked in insidious ways: it could inoculate the rich against feeling compassion for the unfortunate.1 1. The author wishes to thank Jeff Cox, Jane Garnett, Michael Timo Gilmore, Thomas Laqueur, Peter Linebaugh, Michael McKeon and especially Ruth Smith for their continued



Revival and Religion since 1700

Wesley was not alone in his concerns. Wealth and poverty were national obsessions in late eighteenth-century Britain because both were manifestly proliferating. Magistrates, moralists, writers on economic subjects and even novelists over the past forty years had been trying to come to terms with salient evidence of rising standards of living. In 1751 Henry Fielding noted 'the vast Torrent of Luxury which of late Years hath poured itself into this Nation'. John Brown's lengthy critique of affluence, An Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times (1757), went into six editions within six months. 'That our riches are in fact amazingly increased within a few years, no one, who is in the least acquainted with this country, can entertain a doubt', asserted Soame Jenyns in 1767.2 It is not surprising that Wesley devoted several of his later sermons to the subject.3 Historians now laud the era as a time of nascent consumerism, but contemporaries like Wesley were preoccupied with darker prospects. The eighteenthcentury debate over luxury provoked prophecies of doom, as critics likened signs of decadence to indications of a classical fall from grace. As Jenyns put it, the 'public poverty and private opulence' of Great Britain marked 'the fatal disease which had put a period to all the greatest and most flourishing empires of the world'.4 William Hazeland cautioned that '[ijmmense riches on the one hand, and on the other excessive indigence' were harbingers of 'despotism and

continued helpful comments and advice on an earlier draft, and the American Council of Learned Societies for support during the research and writing of this essay. In addition to the sermon cited above, see 'On the Use of Money', 'The Danger of Riches', 'On riches', 'On the Danger of Increasing Riches', and 'National Sins and Miseries', in The Bicentennial Edition of the Works of John Wesley (Nashville, TN, 1984-87), vols 1-4; on Wesley's struggle against the absence of charity among followers in later years, see John Walsh, 'John Wesley and the Community of Goods', in Keith Robbins, ed., Protestant Evangelicalism: Britain, Ireland, Germany, and America, c. 1750 — c. 1950: Essays in Honour of W.R. Ward (Oxford, 1990), pp. 25-50, which served as an inspiration for the following essay. I am indebted to John Walsh for sharing his thoughts on religion and the poor with me for many years. 2. John Brown, An Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times (London, 1757). On the implications of the debate over luxury, see J. Sekora, Luxury: The Concept in Western Thought, Eden to Smollett (Baltimore, 1977); A.W. Coats, 'Changing Attitudes to Labour in the Mid-Eighteenth Century', Economic History Review, 2nd ser., 21 (1958), pp. 48-51; H. Fielding, An Enquiry into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers (London, 1751), pp. 3-4; S. Jenyns, Thoughts on the Causes and Consequences of the Present High Price of Provisions (London, 1767), p. 7. 3. 'When was luxury (not in food only, but in dress, furniture, equipage)', Wesley asked, 'carried to such a height in Great Britain, ever since it was a nation?' 'National Sins and Miseries', Sermons, iii, p. 574. On Wesley's views on luxury and the poor, see Walsh, 'Community of Goods', pp. 48-49; H.D. Rack, Reasonable Enthusiast (London, 1989), pp. 360-70. 4. Jenyns, Thoughts, p. 22. On rising affluence and changing habits of consumption, see N. McKendrick, J. Brewer and J.H. Plumb, The Birth of a Consumer Society: The Commercialization of Eighteenth-Century England (London, 1982); C. Shammas, The PreIndustrial Consumer in England and America (Oxford, 1990). Despite rising affluence, economic historians generally agree that 'poverty was the principal social problem of the period'. A.W. Coats, 'The Relief of Poverty, Attitudes to Labour, and Economic Change in England, 1660-1782', International Review of Social History, 21 (1976), p. 115.

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slavery'.5 'Wherever [luxury] prevails', claimed one jeremiad, 'the social ties of friendship, charity, and hospitality are at an end. The "still small voice" of humanity is overpowered in the loud clamours of intemperate pleasure'.6 Changing notions of charity were directly related to this new affluence at the end of the eighteenth century, as sources of wealth, means of giving and, most important, dimensions of poverty were reconstituted. In its largest sense, charity refers to an attitude of benevolence and generosity towards the less fortunate within a defined community. As such, it may be represented by certain gestures, but the gestures themselves may not be synonymous with magnanimous attitudes. While the level of poor rates had never been higher than during the last half of the eighteenth century, and while institutional philanthropy had never been more conspicuous, charitable sentiment was notably in eclipse. One historian has pointed out the 'sharp curtailment of the influence of traditional benevolence' as well as the 'transformation of the meaning of benevolence' at this time.7 Another has shown how 'the system of just prices, fair wages and adequate poor relief, all linked to time-honoured notions of community and benevolence, 'began to unravel remarkably quickly' during the final decades of the century.8 As a watershed between a traditional society based on community obligation and a modern one founded on individualism, historians of ideas have highlighted the assertion of private property rights over the claims of the propertyless poor: the foremost theorists of individual freedom and rights, including Adam Smith, the new school of political economists, utilitarian theorists, and T.R. Malthus, made their contributions at this time. Culminating in the reforms of the old poor laws in 1834, these new theoretical understandings ultimately led to a more discriminating notion of charity and a punitive system of poor relief.9 Though substantially accurate, this argument alone cannot explain the shift in attitudes related to charity. As much rested on a general disposition towards the recipients of benevolence, namely, the labouring poor. The purpose of the following essay is to focus attention on changing understandings of the poor and the role that negative images of the poor played in determining revised 5. W. Hazeland, A View of the Manner in Which Trade and Civil Liberty Support Each Other (London, 1756), p. 6. 6. S. Fawconer, An Essay on Modern Luxury (London, 1765), p. 38. 7. D.A. Baugh, 'Poverty, Protestantism, and Political Economy: English Attitudes toward the Poor, 1660-1800', in S.B. Baxter, ed., England's Rise to Greatness, 1660-1763 (Berkeley, CA, 1983), p. 91. 8. G. Claeys, Machinery, Money and the Millennium (Princeton, 1987), p. 18. 9. See I. Hont and M. Ignatieff, ed., Wealth and Virtue: The Shaping of Political Economy in the Scottish Enlightenment (Cambridge, 1983), esp. their 'Needs and Justice in the Wealth of Nations: An Introductory Essay', pp. 1-44; R.G. Cowherd, Political Economists and the English Poor Laws (Athens, 1977); T.A. Home, "'The Poor Have a Claim Founded in the Law of Nature": William Paley and the Rights of the Poor', Journal of the History of Philosophy, 23 (1985), pp. 51-70; A. Digby, 'Malthus and Reform of the Poor Law', in J. Dupaquier, A. Fauve-Chamoux, and E. Grebenik, ed., Malthus Past and Present (London, 1983), pp. 97-109; G.R. Boyer, An Economic History of the English Poor Law, 1750-1850 (Cambridge, 1990).


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ideas about the distribution of wealth during the late eighteenth century. One such image had to do with the performance of the poor as workers. As Gregory Claeys has pointed out, 'increasing hostility towards the poor . . . was manifested in the common view that the workforce was idle and overpaid, and the unemployed poor less than anxious to exert themselves'.10 Though such depictions were familiar, they were now mobilised alongside new features of eighteenth-century life, most notably, changing habits of consumption. From the 1750s, a debate over the proper use of the material gratifications of capitalism informed a critical discourse about the poor. Anxieties about wealth, not scarcity, played a dominant part in the development of a new critique of the poor before the age of Malthus. This paradox provides a key to understanding how old principles of benevolence were abandoned and new ones were constructed. One might argue that charity, like poverty, is a normative aspect of any society. Those who are fortunate are under constant obligation to help those who are not. England claimed its own particular religious and political history of caring for the poor. Aristocratic values promoted the exercise of charity, linking the act of giving to a reaffirmation of the social hierarchy within a specific set of intellectual and religious assumptions. Private and public benevolence sprang forth from secular sources as the impact of the Reformation, which removed many longstanding institutional sources of charity, was felt. Such action became part of an unassailable moral code. To John Hartcliffe, writing in 1691, charity constituted a moral quality alongside 'temperance and gratitude' and 'justice and fidelity'; he chose to pair it with 'humanity'.11 Yet the actuality of charity — the giving of material aid — grows out of a social reality existing between people of different rank or class. As the Biblical world understood perhaps better than later ages, charity was a means of administering justice within a social system based on inequality.12 Or, as Christopher Hill has put it, the tradition of hospitality was 'the tribute which members of a ruling class paid to surviving ideals of a more equal society'.13 The ideal of charity inspired community action as well as private giving. Medieval and early modern popular customs, such as charity ales and bidding

10. Claeys, Machinery, Money and the Millennium, p. 19. 11. J. Hartcliffe, A Treatise of Moral and Intellectual Virtues (1691), p. 367. In examining poor relief in a comparative framework, Paul Slack has argued that 'the result [in England] may well have been a greater readiness to countenance a compulsory poor rate, and a more decisive movement of private benefactions towards the relief of the poor, than would have occurred if the religious foundations had remained'. P. Slack, Poverty and Policy in Tudor and Stuart England (London, 1988), p. 13. 12. Jose Porfirio Miranda pointed out that 'the original Hebrew Bible calls that act of giving money to the poor not "almsgiving", but "justice" (sedaqah)'. Communism in the Bible, trans. R.R. Barr (Maryknoll, 1982). I owe thanks to Peter Linebaugh for bringing this reference to my attention. 13. C. Hill, Society and Puritanism in Pre-Revolutionary England (2nd edn, New York, 1967), p. 259.

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weddings, administered assistance with the understanding that nearly every member of the community might request such help at some point in life.14 In a world in which boundaries between public and private were imperfectly defined, charity occurred in many different settings and forms. A significant qualification in sharing and giving emerged long before Wesley's time. Felicity Heal's study of the social world that supported open hospitality in early modern England shows how charity offered to the stranger and the poor within households of the wealthy was gradually withdrawn. Heal emphasises the importance of 'the separation of hospitality to the prosperous and alms to the poor' accomplished by the seventeenth century, citing the memorial to the Countess of Bridgewater, who died in 1663: 'the rich at her Table daily tasted her Hospitality, the poor at her gate her Charity'. This spatial segregation, she argues, illustrates a more general development at this time: the 'intensification of the social gulf that existed between the needy and their benefactors'. Public relief facilitated this by assuming some of the responsibility for the poor. Many English people came to believe that the elaborate accommodations made by the state for the unemployed and infirm should solve or at least contain the problem. In a decidedly commercial nation, beneficence was comfortably mediated by 'money-exchange and institutional structures'. Heal's paradigm shift, occurring during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, points to a specialisation in the meaning of benevolence: at times, charity passed between individuals; it also occurred in an organised fashion, sometimes embodied in institutions such as the almshouse; and the state systematically administered largesse through the poor laws.15 The eighteenth century fine-tuned this earlier development according to new financial capabilities outside the aristocracy, church and state: a more particular, institution-orientated meaning of charity gradually eclipsed the general sense of the word in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Historians have shown how this form of philanthropy became abundantly evident in London around 1750 in the form of new hospitals and asylums.16 In a society that was professedly and uniformly Christian, such gestures were often outwardly related to religious belief. As Samuel Johnson observed in 1758, 'Charity, or tenderness for the poor' was now considered 'as inseparable from piety'.17 But, in a more specific sense, eighteenth-century charity had to do with recent economic developments: it was the manifestation of monetary or material

14. J.M. Bennett, 'Conviviality and Charity in Medieval and Early Modern England', Past and Present, 134 (1992), pp. 19-41. 15. F. Heal, Hospitality in Early Modern England (Oxford, 1990), pp. 391-94. 16. See D. Andrew, Philanthropy and Police: London Charity in the Eighteenth Century (Princeton, 1989); R.K. McClure, Coram's Children: the London Foundling Hospital in the Eighteenth Century (New Haven, 1981), esp. pt i; D. Owen, English Philanthropy, 1660-1960 (Cambridge, 1964). 17. The Idler, 4 (6 May 1758), reprinted in W.J. Bate, J.M. Bullitt, and L.F. Powell, ed., The Idler and the Adventurer (New Haven, CT, 1963), p. 12.


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generosity towards the less fortunate by beneficiaries of the new commercial age. One need only look at Hogarth's portrait of Captain Thomas Coram, founder of the London Foundling Hospital, to comprehend the social world from which many benefactors sprang. Coram's proud pose and wigless head suggest 'power based on self-aggrandizement rather than hereditary privilege', while the accoutrements collected within the painting — the globe at Coram's feet, the ship in the background, and Coram's mercantile attire — indicate quite plainly the mercantile source of the donor's wealth. It is impossible to ignore the fact that a great deal of eleemosynary activity grew out of Britain's commercial and imperial successes.18 In the latter half of the eighteenth century, these donations took place in the face of marked economic distress and need. An expanding population and chronic unemployment and poverty placed new demands on private and public relief. The pressure of population forced Britain to cease exporting grain; after 1765, the nation became reliant upon imports. Alterations in landholding and land use contributed to rural unemployment and poverty. As a result, poor law relief reached unprecedented heights, goading critics to launch new attacks on the system, while inspiring others to catalogue new depths of distress.19 In the midst of this crisis, commercial and industrial successes were fair advertisements for the new assumptions about the creation and distribution of wealth: freedom from interference and regulation in economic matters seemed almost incontrovertible. Individual effort was championed as a necessity to the new age. Amassing and spending money, rather than sacrificing it to the immediate needs of others, became a corollary of commercial success. The following essay examines several public debates in which these principles of private gain over the public welfare revised images of the poor and ideas of charity. As the growing gap between rich and poor became more

18. The Foundling Hospital incidentally became the site of artistic endeavours which feted the new philanthropy: the first public display of paintings in England and the locus of annual performances of Handel's Messiah. As McClure points out, the new philanthropy in turn helped the artistic endeavours to succeed: Handel's Messiah received mixed reviews and would have foundered in its early years, were it not for the annual performances. McClure, Coram's Children, pp. 66-71; E.D.H. Johnson, Paintings of the British Social Scene (London, 1986), pp. 53-55. It is worth noting that this form of giving increased, even though legal changes in the early eighteenth century made deathbed endowments to charities more difficult to establish. See G. Jones, History of the Law of Chanty (Cambridge, 1969), pp. 110-14 and chap, ix, passim. 19. On the diverse aspects of the late eighteenth-century crisis, see the considerable literature on food prices and riots, including E.P. Thompson, Customs in Common (New York, 1991); J. Bohstedt, Riots and Community Politics in England and Wales, 1790-1810 (Cambridge, 1983); R.B. Rose, 'Eighteenth Century Price Riots and Public Policy in England', International Review of Social History, 6 (1961), pp. 277-92; on agricultural prices, see A.H. John, 'English Agricultural Improvement and Grain Exports, 1660-1765', in D.C. Coleman and A.H. John, ed., Trade, Government and Economy in Pre-Industrial England (London, 1976), pp. 45-67; sources on rising poor rates are legion: see Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb, English Poor Law History, i (London, 1927); J.R. Poynter, Society and Pauperism: English Ideas on Poor Relief, 1795-1834 (London, 1969); Boyer, Economic History of the English Poor Law; Geoffrey Oxley, Poor Relief in England and Wales, 1601-1834 (London, 1974).

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pronounced, particularly in London, the age-old debate over the distinction between the worthy and unworthy poor generated fresh criticisms of the needy. Discussions about the prevalence of poverty, new problems evident in cities, and the inadequacy of the poor laws provided a major forum for a revised critique of the poor. Not only their immorality, but also their inadequate performance as workers and consumers justified harsher treatment. A second public arena was located in the more theoretical debate over wages: by arguing for high wages as a means of incentive for labour, economic writers set out a means of abrogating public responsibility for the indigent. Thus economic formulations of wage-earning created new categorisations of the poor. Rising prices of provisions in the 1760s provoked further discussion, this time focusing directly on the diverging fortunes of rich and poor. Finally, a legal dispute over the merits of gleaning, part of the transformation of custom into crime, highlighted restrictive definitions of private property. These worked to the detriment of views of the poor, and indeed, their material existence at the end of the eighteenth century. Noteworthy after mid century is the mobilisation of an image of the poor as a social threat. In contrast with the sanctified notion of the poor as a blessing and sign from God, the belief in their nefariousness tapped the least inspired human impulses: resentment against those who accepted rather than gave aid; xenophobia against strangers, easily stoked in growing towns and especially in London; and paranoia among the increasingly wealthy, who felt that visible evidence of affluence rendered them vulnerable to attack.20 A fine line of distinction separated the vagrant from the poor labourer in early modern England,21 but by the mid eighteenth century London had grown as a centre for rural migrants and migrant labourers from all parts of the globe. Research into crimes against property reveal how the regulation and distribution of new commodities from the colonies — tea, coffee, cocoa, timber, sugar and spices — contributed to the construction of new forms of law and order. The problem of theft also unleashed vituperation reserved for the great masses of 'have-nots', who might try to steal what they could not obtain by their own efforts.22

20. For a discussion of the meaning of giving to strangers, see Heal, Hospitality in Early Modern England, pp. 17-21; Slack, Poverty and Policy in Tudor and Stuart England, pp.23-25. 21. See A.L. Beier, Masterless Men: The Vagrancy Problem in England, 1560-1640 (London, 1985), pp. 5-6 and passim. 22. On the reformulation of property rights and their impact on eighteenth-century London labourers, see P. Linebaugh, The London Hanged: Crime and Civil Society in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge, 1992). On opposition to the extension of luxury commodities to the general populace, see Sekora, Luxury, pp. 75-77, 90-92. On economic growth and the increasing importance of London, see E.A. Wrigley, 'A Simple Model of London's Importance in Changing English Society and Economy, 1650-1750', in P. Abrams and E.A. Wrigley, ed., Towns in Societies (Cambridge, 1978), pp. 215-43; P. Earle, The Making of the English Middle Class (Berkeley, CA, 1989), pp. 269-301.


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The most salient illustration of these attitudes appears in Henry Fielding's Enquiry into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers (1751), written at the request of the City of London. A biographer of Fielding has complained that the pamphlet 'said little that had not been hinted at then or discussed by an anxious and embattled bourgeoisie the length and breadth of London', but for this very reason, it serves as a useful measure of contemporary attitudes.23 Fielding's book combined yet another critique of the poor laws with a diatribe against the extension of luxury to 'the very Dregs of the People'. Luxury among the 'Great', he called a 'moral' failing; among the poor, he judged it a 'political Evil'. For trade had given a new Face to the whole Nation, hath in a great measure subverted the former State of Affairs, and hath almost totally changed the Manners, Customs and Habits of the People, more especially of the lower Sort. The Narrowness of their Fortune is changed into Wealth; the Simplicity of their Manners into Craft; their Frugality into Luxury; their Humility into Pride, and their Subjection into Equality.24

The traditional social order had kept in check the uncivilised tendencies of the lower ranks. Now, however, economic change had generated disorder. Fielding's view of unemployment was, to say the least, unsympathetic. The poor emulated the vices of the rich when they sat idle: aspiring still to a Degree beyond that which belongs to them, and not being able by the Fruits of honest Labour to support the State which they affect, they disdain the Wages to which their Industry would in title them; and abandoning themselves to Idleness, the more simple and poor-spirited betake themselves to a State of Starving and Beggary, while those of more Art and Courage become Thieves, Sharpers, and Robbers.25

Unemployment and criminal action melded into one for Fielding. The lower classes were morally tainted and, choosing not to work, some people stole instead. Fielding cleverly dismantled the general sense of charity promulgated by the most revered of English seventeenth-century jurists, Sir Matthew Hale, whose generous stance on the subject of the poor was well known.26 Hale had noted that when they were unable to achieve a subsistence level of wages, the labourer's family must resort to begging or stealing; his point, however, was

23. D. Thomas, Henry Fielding (New York, 1990), p. 322. 24. Fielding, Enquiry, xi. 25. Ibid., p. 4. 26. Hale's Discourse Touching Provision for the Poor was published in 1683 and was cited universally as an authoritative text on the poor laws. Slack points out that he 'began his tract with a classic exposition of the traditional view' on poverty: that God has 'scattered the poor amongst the rest of mankind as his substitutes and receivers' of tribute to the Almighty. The latter quotation is from Hale's Discourse. See Slack, Poverty and Policy, p. 22.

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that these were desperate measures which proved that wages were too low.27 Living in an age of consumption had persuaded Fielding just the opposite. Labourers set their sights too high: the allurements of commodities dissuaded the poor from working for wages and tempted the lowest to enter a life of immorality. Like most works on the subject, Fielding's Enquiry attempted to classify the poor (defined as having no source of 'gaining a comfortable subsistence') into distinct groups. His three 'Divisions' were drawn from Elizabethan statutory distinctions: 'Such Poor as are unable to work', 'Such as are able and willing to work', and 'Such as are able to work, but not willing'. He devoted much energy to distinguishing between the impotent and fit, quoting the honourable Hale in what appears at first glance to be a magnanimous gesture of agreement. Yet this was where his strategy took a decisive turn, highlighted by a rather misleading use of religious language. 'Upon the whole', he argued, this first Class of the Poor is so truly inconsiderable in Number, and to provide for them in the most ample and liberal Manner would be so very easy to the Public; to support and cherish them, and to relieve their Wants, is a Duty so positively commanded by Our Saviour . . . that I am firmly persuaded it might be safely left to voluntary Charity, unenforced by any compulsive Law.28

Fielding's religious convictions rang hollow as he pointed out that 'the Christianity . . . [and] the Humanity, of his Country' was in fact rather foolishly misplaced. English people now extended alms to just about everybody: Mankind are so forward to relive the Appearance of Distress in their Fellowcreatures, that every Beggar, who can but moderately well personate Misery, is sure to find Relief and Encouragement; and this, though the Giver must have great Reason to doubt the Reality of the Distress, and when he can scarce be ignorant that his Bounty is illegal, and that he is encouraging a Nuisance.

Even though the propertied paid exorbitantly high taxes for the poor, they handed out additional alms, and worse, did so indiscriminately. Fielding's radical solution was to abolish the poor tax, except in cases when it was necessary to 'force open the Purses' of the 'covetous Rich'.29 Winnowing out the impotent poor as objects of charity obscured the more pressing problem of the day: what about the poor who wished to work, but failed to do so? The Workhouse Test Act of 1723, which assigned able-bodied paupers to the workhouse, lent legal legitimacy to punitive attitudes. Yet two opposing approaches to the problem persisted through the

27. Adam Smith quoted Hale on this point. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. by Edwin Cannan (1776; repr., Chicago, 1976), bk i, chap. 8, p. 86. 28. Fielding, Enquiry, pp. 45—46. 29. Ibid., pp. 46-47. It was illegal to give to able-bodied poor, according to a strict reading of the statutes. (Slack, Poverty and Policy pp. 192-93.)


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century, culminating in Gilbert's Act of 1782 and finally, Speenhamland, which indicated an increasing reliance upon outdoor relief.30 These options were in fierce competition at mid century. 'The Employment of the Poor', Fielding pointed out, quoting Hale, 'is a Charity of greater Extent, and of very great and important Consequence to the public Wealth and Peace of the Kingdom, as also to the Benefit and advantage of the Poor'. Yet, as an eighteenth-century magistrate, Fielding was less inclined to emphasise the positive features of this solution. Fielding's own views were closer to those of Joseph Shaw, author of the popular Parish Law (1733). Fielding adroitly cited the handbook, as if the harsh judgments contained there were in harmony with Hale's views: [Employment] would prevent the Children of our Poor being brought up in Laziness and Beggary, whereby Beggary is entailed from Generation to Generation: This is certainly the greatest Charity; for though he who gives to any in Want, does well, yet he who employs and educates the Poor, so as to render them useful to the Public, does better; for that would be many hundred thousand Pounds per Ann. Benefit to this Kingdom.31

Charity had become infinitely more calculable in the eighteenth century. Such means of dealing with the poor illustrate what Donna Andrew has called the 'commercial sense' governing giving at mid century.32 Fielding traded on this quantifiable notion of charity to press home his more questionable assumption, that the poor were generally given to idleness and dishonesty. By implying that such characteristics were, like property, passed on from parent to child, he rendered private the negative attributes of the poor. The stereotype of the indolent dependent would preclude other ways of thinking about unemployment and poverty at precisely the time when larger structural changes in the economy would make idleness a national problem. By the 1780s, wholesale denunciation of the poor laws catered to the propertied classes' sense of the overwhelming burden of the poor rates. Yet such arguments cannot be construed as simply ungenerous, for they relied on the current notion of freedom in the realm of charity as well as economics. The widely celebrated Dissertation on the Poor Laws (1786) by the Rev. Joseph Townsend constituted an 'unqualified invective' against the system of publicly relieving the poor.33 Complaining that the poor rates were 30. Coats, 'Relief of Poverty', p. 107; Poynter's proviso on the relationship between law and poor relief is relevant here: 'The pattern of eighteenth-century practice was not one of law determining methods of relief, but of fashions in relief receiving the sanction of law, the statutory framework providing an ever-increasing number of alternative procedures which could be adopted.' Poynter indicates that much outdoor relief went on throughout the century and especially before Speenhamland formally announced to the public the distress of the poor in the south. Poynter, Society and Pauperism, p. 13; see also pp. 12-17, 77-78. Cf. Coats, 'Poor Relief, p. 110. 31. Fielding, Enquiry, p. 35. Shaw's book had enjoyed nine editions by the 1750s. 32. Andrew, Philanthropy and Police, pp. 133, 156. 33. J. Townsend, A Dissertation on the Poor Laws (1786; repr., Berkeley, CA, 1971); 'unqualified invective' are the words of T. Ruggles, History of the Poor, ii, pp. 33-34, quoted in Poynter, Society and Pauperism, p. 43.

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'a system of compulsive charity', Townsend reserved his strongest praise for the 'free bounty of the rich'. Like the more famous Dean Tucker, he blended the principles of religion with those of commercial capitalism. 'The Christian dispensation gives the highest encouragement to the overflowings of benevolence', he explained, 'but at the same time leaves every man at liberty to give or not to give, proceeding upon this maxim, that it should be lawful for a man to do what he will with his own.' Townsend was able to cite biblical support for this: 'God loveth a chearful giver.' (II Cor. 9:7) Citing Fielding, he supported the proposal to abolish the tax for the support of the impotent poor, entrusting their care to the charity of the wealthy, who would respond on their own with sufficient alms.34 Yet 'freedom', even when exercised by a clergyman, did not necessarily entail the exercise of compassion. Townsend was at pains to enshrine a discriminating definition of charity as the true Christian way. Using illustrations from biblical history and passages of Scripture, he encouraged giving to those in distress, but added that '[a]mong the various objects of distress a choice is to be made, selecting first those which are most worthy, and reserving the residue for those who have nothing but their misery to excite compassion'. He quoted at length Matthew's distinction between the sheep and the goats. His exhortations spoke to all the current disputes — political, economic, and religious — over poor relief: Let the virtuous citizen be fed, then let the profligate and the prodigal share all that prudence and frugality shall have left behind them. To reverse this order is neither politic nor just: for surely nothing can be more inconsistent with equity, than to give the bread of industry to indolence and vice. Christian charity was never meant to discourage diligence and application, nor to promote among men a wanton dissipation of their substance.35

The metaphor of feeding and 'bread' was not lost on his readers: Townsend's tract appeared in the midst of a longstanding controversy over the corn trade, which mobilised public opinion for and against paternalist regulation of the dietary staple of the poor. Townsend's definition of Christian charity employed the language of politics and law; rigid in its sense of justice, it spoke of equity meted out only to the virtuous.36 Implicit in every discussion of the worthy and unworthy poor was the problem of motivating the poor to work; in the eighteenth century, this took the form of a debate over the level of wages. This was the crux of Townsend's quarrel with the poor laws, which he believed undermined the incentive of the

34. Townsend, Dissertation, pp. 59, 63. 35. Ibid., pp. 59-60. 36. Townsend fits into A.M.C. Waterman's cogent analysis of Christian political economists in Revolution, Economics and Religion: Christian Political Economy, 1798-1833 (Cambridge, 1991). Not surprisingly, Townsend pointed out that the community of goods in Acts 4:32 never 'received the sanction of divine authority'. Dissertation, p. 58.


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poor to find gainful employment. 'Hope and fear are the springs of industry', he stated pithily. 'It is the part of a good politician to strengthen these: but our laws weaken the one and destroy the other.'37 The subject of motivation directed attention to labourers themselves: was it necessary to goad labourers on with the threat of deprivation, or could they be induced to work by the promise of positive reward? Eighteenth-century philosophers introduced new elements into the exploration of human capabilities. Hume was an important source of optimism, arguing that the labourer was capable of working towards the goal of acquiring articles of consumption. 'It is a violent method, and in most cases impracticable', he argued, 'to oblige the labourer to toil, in order to raise from the land more than what subsists himself and family. Furnish him with manufactures and commodities', he added, 'and he will do it of himself[.]' The debate over wages opened the way to scrutiny of labourers' habits and morals, as well as their capabilities.38 The most negative eighteenth-century pronouncements on the labouring poor with regard to work and wages remain the most famous. Mandeville's argument for low wages, made in The Fable of the Bees (1714), had all the pith of a proverb: labouring men 'have nothing to stir them up to be serviceable but their Wants, which it is Prudence to relieve, but Folly to cure'.39 Arthur Young summed up the same case in his Eastern Tour (1771): 'every one but an ideot [sic] knows, that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious'.40 Advocates for low wages did not necessarily wish to deprive labourers of subsistence rights, and in general, a newer, more generous attitude towards labourers was gaining ground after mid century, in the form of an argument for high wages.41 But the unemployment following the end of war in the 1760s, as well as the financial and trade crisis in the next decade, breathed new life into the arguments of 'minimalists'. In various ways, they argued that low wages would keep labourers working their hardest and enable England to undersell foreign competitors. Thus Jonas Hanway, among others, continued to assert that the poor 'work only in proportion to their necessities'.42

37. Ibid., p. 23; Townsend anticipated Malthus' argument that government provisions 'promote the evils they mean to remedy'. Ibid., p. 17. 38. David Hume, 'On Commerce', in Essays: Moral, Political and Literary (Oxford, 1963), p. 268. On the debate over wages, see Coats, 'Changing Attitudes to Labour', pp. 35-51; on Hume and luxury, see Sekora, Luxury, pp. HOff. 39. Bernard Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees (1714; Harmondsworth, 1970), p. 210. 40. Arthur Young, The Farmer's Tour Through the East of England, 4 vols (1771), i, p. 361. 41. Arthur Young, for example, defended the right of the poor to using marginal land for subsistence use. A.W. Coats contends that the arguments for high wages indicate a rise in positive attitudes towards the labouring poor in the latter part of the eighteenth century. See his 'Changing Attitudes to Labour', p. 47. 42. Later writers emphasised the role of fear of future want in motivating labour, which, as Donna Andrew has pointed out, is 'far more sophisticated than the earlier' minimalist arguments. Andrew, Philanthropy and Police, pp. 138-40. Hanway, Letters (1767), p. 13, quoted in Coats, 'Relief of Poverty', p. 114.

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Publicists of all stripes shared anxiety over how labourers would spend wages, once they earned them. Thus the debate over wages became swept up in the current concern about luxury and consumption. A hierarchical understanding of society had previously governed the way in which consumption had been regulated: necessities marked the outside limit of the ordinary labourer's enjoyments; all else violated rules of deference and decorum. According to old sumptuary laws (which were all but defunct in the eighteenth century), unrestricted consumption was limited to the few, who had the political status, as well as the intellectual and moral faculties, necessary for the safe use of luxuries. New habits of consumption challenged this order of society. Labourers stirred precious sugar into imported tea, taking time to drink it, sometimes out of specially purchased crockery. Some smoked; others craved rum and chocolate. Extra pence went towards spices and even ready-made stockings. All these commodities seemed either to demand leisure, or create time for it. To detractors of the new commercial regime, idleness and debauchery threatened to replace virtuous industry. The current debate over luxury and consumption revealed how many English people feared that the spread of commodities to the lower classes spelled disaster for the English nation.43 New opportunities for spending prompted a whole new evaluation, largely negative, of labourers' behaviour. Facilitating this critique was the more formalised notion of wage-earner which evolved in the eighteenth century. How assiduous was the labourer at earning a wage? How sensibly did he dispense with his earnings? Townsend's opinion of the labouring poor in these respects was unmitigatedly low: The labouring poor at present are greatly defective, both in respect to industry and economy. Considering the numbers to be maintained, they work too little, they spend too much, and what they spend is seldom laid out to the best advantage . . . Unless the degree of pressure be increased, the labouring poor will never acquire habits of diligent application, and of severe frugality.44

Fielding, too, had pointed a finger at the immediate gratifications held out by luxury commodities, which he believed sapped the poor of their will to apply themselves. Townsend was more explicit in arguing that limitations to motivation were inherent in lower-class identity. Anticipating Malthus, he 43. A large pamphlet literature on this subject exists: see, for example, [Jonas Hanway], A Journal of Eight Days Journey . . . To Which is Added, An Essay on Tea (London, 1756); [Anon.] An Essay on Tea, Sugar, White Bread and Butter, Country Alehouses, Strong Beer and Geneva, and other Modern Luxuries (London, 1777); T. Alcock, Observations on the Defects of the Poor Laws (London, 1752); to these should be added Arthur Young's various comments in A Six Months Tour Through the North of England, 4 vols (1770), A Six Weeks Tour Through the Southern Counties of England and Wales (1768), and The Farmer's Tour Through the East of England, 4 vols (1771) and the many essays on tea-drinking (including one by John Wesley) and the consumption of other luxuries. See also E.S. Furniss, The Position of the Laborer in a System of Nationalism (1920; repr., New York, 1965), pp. 152-56. 44. Townsend, Dissertation, pp. 62-63.


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depicted the poor as lacking the mental capacities that made individualism a viable motor of economic and social progress: The poor know little of the motives which stimulate the higher ranks to action — pride, honour, and ambition. In general it is only hunger which can spur and goad them on to labour; . . . hunger is not only a peaceable, silent, unremitted pressure, but, as the most natural motive to industry and labour, it calls forth the most powerful exertions.45

Inhabiting a world closer to nature, the poor thus responded to a biological stimulus to work — the physical need to eat, rather than to the civilised need to compete, win and exhibit themselves publicly. The link forged between the lower classes and nature reinscribed a hierarchical representation of society, in this instance, subordinating labourers on the grounds of their natural propensities to live their lives out of control. Low wage advocates joined their alarmed contemporaries in reinforcing old hierarchies created out of new scientific points of view.46 In the latter half of the eighteenth century, the evolution of the notion of charitableness reached an intersection of remarkable import: the rules of market exchange came into conflict with the customary ways in which the poor obtained provisions. Formerly protected from profit-seeking activities which created artificial shortages and forced up prices, the common people were now thrust into a new world of commodified food. The sale of bread and corn came under market ideology as population pressure also affected prices. The high cost of food in the 1760s and 1770s is well known.47 E.P. Thompson has shown how the crowd contested changes in the law and modulated the introduction of free trade principles. Many inconsistencies in pronouncements on the issue of the corn trade meant that the trappings of a 'moral economy' survived: unable to deny publicly the right of the poor to necessities, government ministers continued to invoke the ideal long after statutory support ceased as a reality. Yet, at the same time, leaders were won over by the new science of economics. In the face of dearth in England, Ireland and India, they systematically introduced free market practices during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Confrontations between 'moral imperatives' and the new ideas of political economy, far from being scattered and random, were remarkably planned and informed.48 45. Ibid., pp. 23-24. 46. The connection between the lower classes and nature had great potential as a subject of scientific discussion and would reappear in the arguments of Malthus a little over a decade later. On Alcock and Townsend, esp. the latter's anticipation of Malthus, see Poynter, Society and Pauperism, pp. 39-44. 47. See n. 19, above. 48. See Thompson, Customs in Common, pp. 259-351; Hont and Ignatieff, 'Needs and Justice', pp. 1-44. One must also remember that the agricultural sector was already legitimated as the laboratory for new principles of market capitalism. See EJ. Hobsbawm, 'Scottish Reformers of the Eighteenth Century and Capitalist Agriculture', in EJ. Hobsbawm, et. al., ed., Peasants in History: Essays in Honour of Daniel Thorner (Calcutta, 1980), pp. 3-29.

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As many as 500 pamphlets on the price of provisions appeared during the 1760s, exposing a dramatic variety of public opinion.49 While a spectacularly successful trans-Atlantic trade concentrated in 'luxuries' such as tea and sugar, the price of provisions at home touched the very heart of the legitimacy of capitalism. Could the general population of England be assured of affordable foodstuffs in the face of considerable commercial activity and wealth? The discussions reveal 'the moral economy in retreat', analysed by Joyce Appleby in its earliest phase.50 New market strategies of a global capitalist economy had developed during years of plenty at the beginning of the eighteenth century and thereafter remained in place, even though dearth occurred in the 1760s and 1790s. These practices provoked widespread unrest: in areas where forestalling occurred, or when local supplies were directed to remote markets, rioting demonstrated how the new economics represented a breach between the government and the people. Crowds forced authorities to regulate the market and protect consumers throughout the eighteenth century, but legislation gradually relinquished the government from its former responsibility for providing cheap wheat and bread.51 Penetrating the systematic logic of laissez-faire market ideology today is supremely difficult; during the formative years of the 1760s and 1770s, the task was only slightly less so. Simple generalisations about romantic or reactionary responses to classical economics are of little use, for a wide range of opinion can be found within the establishment. Several prominent proponents of the new science of political economy were, like Malthus, clergymen. Malthus was the most effective in combining Protestant belief with a new economic vantage point. Yet criticism of capitalism did emerge in the form of ethical opposition to the condition of the poor during these years. Wesley defies catagorisation: though he was a Tory in politics, his position on poverty and charity rendered him unique among his peers.52 With characteristic wisdom, 49. Sekora, Luxury, p. 128. 50. Appleby, Economic Thought, pp. 52-72. 51. On the 'disinfest[ing] of intrusive moral imperatives' from the new political economy as it influenced the trade in grain, see 'The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century', reprinted in Customs in Common, p. 202 and 'The Moral Economy Revisited', pp. 268-88; see also Bohstedt, Riots and Community Politics, pp. 40, 74-75, 189; W.J. Shelton, English Hunger and Industrial Disorders (Toronto, 1973). While the disappearance of subsistence crises may have contributed to the growth of a 'rational, profit-oriented market economy', plenitude may also have led, paradoxically, to the demise of unqualified charity. When 'supply outstripped domestic demand, the grain dealers' activities escaped the purview of the moralists', and merchants exported or stockpiled grain for higher profits. Such methods ultimately sanctioned the market system and enabled new theories to triumph over sacred and moral considerations. Appleby, Economic Thought, pp. 54-57. 52. Eighteenth-century 'positive' attitudes towards the poor often elude easy classification as conservative or radical. The archetypal conservative, William Paley, was also the author of one of the most iconoclastic treatises on the limited rights of private property on behalf of the poor, while William Godwin, the celebrated radical, provided a critique of state support for the indigent. Churchmen line up in advocacy of a curtailment of poor law subsidies (Malthus must count among them), while none other than Adam Smith argued for higher wages for continued


Revival and Religion since 1700

John Walsh has shown how Wesley's belief in a community of goods placed him closer to more radical positions than of those of his fellow churchmen in eighteenth-century England.53 In his sermons on charity and the danger of riches, Wesley shows himself to be a staunch enemy of wealth and 'luxury' on behalf of the poor. He even published his own tract on prices, Thoughts on the Present Scarcity of Provisions (1773), which defended the poor against charges of immorality and idleness while pointing to the greed of the rich as a cause of economic distress.54 One of the only elements of his thinking that prevents him from appearing thoroughly 'modern' in his critique is his tenacious loyalty to asceticism as a means of dealing with the new affluence of the industrial age. Indeed, this is the subject which generated Wesley's deepest frustration with his followers.55 A fascinating fusion of these concerns appears in the relatively obscure work of Nathaniel Forster, D.D. (?1726-90), author of An Enquiry into the Causes of the Present High Price of Provisions (1767), fellow of Balliol College, and later a rector of All Saints, Colchester. The son of a Somerset minister and the cousin of the learned divine Nathaniel Forster, D.D. (1718-57), Forster combined his theological heritage with a knowledge of philosophy drawn from current Humean principles and continental enlightenment thought. J.R. McCulloch, the Victorian political economist, hailed his work as 'perhaps, the ablest of the many treatises published about this period on the rise of prices',56 and a more recent assessment sees it as 'a half-way stage between Hume and Adam Smith'.57 The distance between Smith and Forster was crucial: Forster's ethical stance on 'the plentiful support of the people' by the government differed greatly from Smith's dependence on the market for the provision of necessities. The alternative was not available for long, at least within economic discussions. That writers like Townsend and Fielding are reprinted today, while Forster has receded into obscurity, is a noteworthy commentary on the canon of economic thought which emerged from this period. Embracing the principles of market ideology, classical theorists abandoned the line of questioning that Forster and writers like him were so determined to pursue. Alert to the prevailing spirit of the times, Forster commented extensively on the subject of greed. Whereas Fielding's tract focused on the rapaciousness of the poor, Forster's called attention to the passion of avarice among the wealthy. Believing, like Scottish philosophers, that passions impelled human nature in its various activities, he named avarice as the 'grand resource continued labourers. See T. Home, '"The Poor Have a Claim"'; G. Claeys, 'The Effects of Property on Godwin's Theory of Justice', Journal of the History of Philospophy 22 (1984), pp. 81-101; Waterman, Revolution, Economics and Religion, pp. 1-14 and passim. 53. Walsh, 'John Wesley and the Community of Goods'. 54. On this point, see Rack, Reasonable Enthusiast, pp. 363, 369. 55. See the insightful prefaces to 'Danger of Riches' and 'Danger of Increasing Riches' in Sermons, iii, pp. 227-28; iv, p. 177. 56. J.R. McCulloch, Literature of Political Economy (1845), p. 193. 57. Coats, 'Changing Attitudes to Labour', p. 41n.

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of commercial legislation'. Unlike theologians such as William Law, who wholeheartedly rejected superfluous human appetites, Forster maintained a relatively dispassionate ambivalence towards that fact: like it or not, greed was a natural human impulse. 'A spirit of disinterestedness is not to be expected in common life', he asserted, reminding us of Adam Smith's famous observation: 'Nobody but a beggar chuses to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow citizens.'58 Yet Forster recommended that 'this native selfishness' be 'narrowly watched': Avarice is of all human passions the most exorbitant and encroaching. It is not in nature to satisfy it ... It is the only passion that gains increase of appetite by what it feeds on. It is therefore of the utmost consequence to the interest of society that this passion be kept at a moderate diet.59

Such desires led to excesses and superfluous luxury. Both deprived the general population of the 'plentiful support' that was their due. Forster aligned himself with paternalist philosophers like Steuart, who advised that some government regulation was necessary to maintain a just distribution of wealth.60 'I profess myself an advocate for the poor', Forster brazenly announced. 'And I glory in this profession, both as a man, and as a citizen. As a man, I would give them every enjoyment their situation admits, even though I should lose by it as a citizen. But in this last relation I am confident I should be infinitely a gainer. The poor are the real strength and support of a state.'61 Crucial to rescuing the labouring poor from general public condemnation was the recognition of a distinction between necessities and luxury commodities. Forster argued that the definition of necessities had been conflated with articles of luxury, at least with regard to the purchase of the labouring poor. Labourers might be motivated by their desires, but they should not be denied their needs. The belief that the poor should scratch for survival was simply a disguised form of unrestrained avarice.

58. This is part of Smith's famous discussion of 'the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker', which addressed the subject of self-interest, as well as others' 'humanity'. Wealth of Nations, i, p. 18. 59. Forster, Enquiry, p. 20. It is no coincidence that the entire thrust of Forster's work is regarding biological needs, those which provisions satisfy. He was also echoing the body metaphor of Commonwealthman literature, which understood a good social order in terms of a healthy body. See Caroline Robbins, The Eighteenth-Century Commonwealthman: Studies in the Transmission, Development and Circumstance of English Liberal Thought (Cambridge, MA, 1961). 60. Sir James Steuart pointed out that 'authority, industry, or charity' can help distribute the wealth of a nation in order to bring 'the principle of a great population' to 'a full activity'. An Inquiry into the Principles of Political Oeconomy, 2 vols (1767; repr., Chicago, 1966), i, p. 67. Steuart, however, was of two minds on the subject of charity. While acknowledging the need for giving to the poor, he also admitted that it led to abuses and sometimes removed incentive, (i, pp. 96-97, 168.) 61. Forster, Enquiry, p. 62.


Revival and Religion since 1700 A general maxim has from hence arisen that necessity is the mother of industry, [and] the maxim has been extended to every kind and every degree of necessity, without any regard to its cause . . . or to the various other circumstances in which men are placed. Nothing so common, according to Swift, as for men to believe a lie for their own ease . . . [These abominable doctrines] arise, I fear, from vices of the heart, rather than of the head: from an unrelenting attachment to self interest solely, and a total insensibility to every consideration of humanity and virtue.62

Retaining the rather outdated notion of labourers as the strength and wealth of the nation, he defended their right to necessities. The 'happiness of a few thousands only' should not be 'paid for by the misery of as many millions', he declared.63 Forster's allegiance to the democratic ideas of the French enlightenment reinforced his conviction that the 'many' had a more legitimate claim to the wealth of the nation than the few. In England, the recent proliferation of wealth, evidenced in domestic servants, horses and cattle, and the engrossing of land, had the same effect as the gross inequalities supported by the Old Regime. '[I]n the present state of, what we call, civilized society', Forster asserted, 'the natural order of things is in many respects totally inverted.' He blamed this upside-down world on 'the art of government', which worked against the interests of the greater part of society. According to the laws of selfinterest, the idea of benevolence was distorted to mean giving just recompense to those who created the very wealth of society, but who sometimes were denied a minimal standard of living. They that work the hardest live the hardest. And it seems to be looked upon by some as an act of generosity, that they, who have naturally the best right to live, are suffered to live at all.64

Forster's assessment was reminiscent of Jacob Vanderlint's: differences in property and wealth bred contempt for the poor, who possessed none of the material and behavioural attributes that gained social respect. Forster asserted a broader definition of benevolence which established the common labourer's right to subsistence. In some ways, Forster's plea was not far from Adam Smith's confident declaration that it was 'but equity' that 'they who feed, cloath and lodge the whole body of the people should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, cloathed and lodged'. This statement, after all, indicated Smith's support for high wages; he also viewed a large population as a by-product of prosperity.65 Smith disagreed 62. Ibid., p. 56. 63. Ibid., p. 63. 64. Ibid., p. 191. 65. Smith was following Berkeley's Querist and Hume's Political Discourses in taking this position. Wealth of Nations, bk i, p. 88 and 88n.

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with his contemporaries who complained 'that luxury extends itself even to the lowest ranks of the people, and that the labouring poor will not now be contented with the same food, cloathing and lodging which satisfied them in former times.'66 Yet this ungenerous point of view was far more common than Smith's and had dire consequences when it affected considerations of relief to the poor. The deterioration of public good will towards the poor aided the emerging science of economics in its separation from widely held moral beliefs. The hostility and suspicion evident in Fielding's Enquiry and Townsend's Dissertation on the Poor Laws were put into action in the curtailment of customary rights of common land usage, wood-gathering, and hunting. These practices, once extensively enjoyed by the labouring poor, were withdrawn as landowners more frequently asserted rights of private property in the later eighteenth century. A legal challenge to the custom of gleaning in 1788 captured the public eye because it expressed in vivid terms two quintessentially opposite orientations towards the poor at a critical time. So longstanding was the practice of gathering the remains of the harvest after the sheaves were tied that Blackstone had simply cited 'Mosaical law' in defending the right: 'And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field; neither shalt thou gather gleanings of thy harvest;. . . thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger'. (Leviticus 23:22) But a Suffolk landowner challenged the right of a woman to glean, arguing that the practice entailed trespassing on private property, and the justices found in his favour. Though failure to apply and enforce the law enabled the custom to continue in most areas, the case stood as a bellwether of a host of critical attitudes towards the labouring poor.67 In its attack on gleaning, the court appealed to a relatively new notion of inviolable rights of individual ownership. 'The farmer is the sole cultivator of the land', argued the court, 'and the gleaners gather each for himself, without any regard either to joint labour or public advantage.' The court went further carefully to dispute the custom as a right at all. The law in no way obliged the farmer 'to leave something for the poor'. 'The soil is his, the culture is his, the seed his, and in natural justice his also are the profits.'68 The practice therefore was a privilege and not a right. Dismissing 'Mosaic custom' as irrelevant, one publicist marshalled soaring figures on the collection and payment of relief in England. 'Can the principle which applied to the children of Israel', he 66. Ibid., i, pp. 87-88. 67. The Hammonds were the first to discuss at length the significance of this case. See J.L. Hammond and B. Hammond, The Village Labourer, pp. 67-68. For a more recent and fuller analysis of the controversy over gleaning, see P. King, 'Gleaners, Farmers and the Failure of Legal Sanctions, 1750-1850', Past and Present, 125 (1989), pp. 116-50 and 'Customary Right and Women's Earnings: The Importance of Gleaning to the Rural Labouring Poor, 1750-1850', Economic History Review 44 (1991), pp. 461-76. See also D. Hay, 'Property, Authority and the Criminal Law', in Albion's Fatal Tree, pp. 18-19, 25; B. Bushaway, By Rite: Custom, Ceremony and Community in England, 1700-1880 (London: 1982), pp. 138-48. 68. Steel v. Houghton, H. Bl. Rep. 62.


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asked, 'existing in a very early stage of society, apply to a country where such enormous sums are raised for the maintenance of the poor?' Property owners contributed to the poor rates, and hence, had no obligation to support the poor through such donations in kind.69 The court employed a related argument, fascinating in its explicit replacement of religious principle by theories of classical economics: The law of Moses is not obligatory on us. It is indeed agreeable to Christian charity and common humanity, that the rich should provide for the impotent poor; but the mode of such provision must be of positive institution. We have established a nobler fund. We have pledged all the landed property of the kingdom for the maintenance of the poor, who have in some instances exhausted the source.70

In a straightforward way, the court affirmed the values of private property. While such critics adhered to the letter of the law, defenders referred to chapter and verse of Old Testament teachings embodied in 'ancient' and established legal texts. From religion, came a sense of 'a community of interest'; from the law, a desire 'to moderate the particular prerogatives of one class, by annexing other peculiar franchises to another'. Within this framework, the needs of subsistence were recognised as universal. 'Our necessary dependence as creatures', a justice of the peace noted, 'our common wants and enjoyments are a proper basis for [the] custom.' The claims of labouring women who gleaned, as 'the indigent, and those who are not of strength or habit to the more profitable labours of the field', warranted defence by the state.71 The eighteenth century of course witnessed sincere and sometimes lavish displays of philanthropy, enough so that the 'age of benevolence' and the 'age of charity' have been invoked to describe the period.72 But a more critical interpretation of these years is certainly possible. Industrial capitalism enhanced the acquisitive and self-regarding tendencies of human nature, and so contemporaries came to see the needs of the poor as a threat to their own prosperity. The fact was clear to people as different in perspective as John Wesley and Adam Smith. The anxiety that a more equitable distribution of wealth would only support the lower classes with superfluities and arm them with arrogance motivated many critics of the poor to argue against their very subsistence. Even as industrial and commercial development suggested unprecedented returns, negative sentiments about the poor enabled many English people to turn a blind eye to the poverty all around them. 69. Annals of Agriculture, ix (1788), p. 640. 70. Steel v Houghton, 1 H. Bl. Rep. 61. 71. Annals of Agriculture, x (1788), pp. 220, 227. 72. Hannah More was one of the first to call the period an age of benevolence. See Baugh, 'Poverty, Protestantism, and Political Economy', p. 75. See also P. Langford, A Polite and Commercial People: England, 1727-83 (Oxford, 1989), p. 481. This essay obviously challenges the argument put forth in T.L. Haskell, 'Capitalism and the Origins of the Humanitarian Sensibility', American Historical Review, 90 (1985), pp. 339-61, 547-66.


Knock-Kneed Giants: Victorian Representations of Eighteenth-Century Thought B.W. Young

/ too, without any private offence, was ambitious of breaking a lance against the Giant's shield . . . I aimed my strokes against the person and the Hypothesis of Bishop Warburton.1 Edward Gibbon

Intellectual historians are strongly indebted to the Victorians and their conceptual antagonisms, for, as J.W. Burrow has remarked, 'the awareness of intellectual history in England began as the nineteenth century's perception of itself as an adversarial age'.2 This adversarial tone was owed, in part, to the Victorians' conviction that theirs was an age of progress, especially in intellectual life: a progress which supposedly placed them on a higher plane to that in which theological and philosophical disputation had previously taken place. Much of this work was undertaken by secularisers keen to emphasise their triumph over dogmatism and 'superstition': hence, to a considerable degree, the studies of W.E.H. Lecky, Mark Pattison and Leslie Stephen. Clerical scholars tended to use the eighteenth century to rather different ends, discerning in it notable indications of temporary intellectual and moral decline, characterising it as a period of religious somnolence and indifference, and thereby allowing themselves to make a self-identification with more robust eras of Christian history: hence the rather censorious work of Charles J. Abbey and John H. Overton. 1. E. Gibbon, The Autobiographies of Edward Gibbon, ed. J. Murray (London, 1896), Memoir C, p. 282. A revised version of a paper delivered to the North of England Conference of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies in March 1992. I am grateful to the British Academy for its award of a postdoctoral fellowship which made my research possible. I would also wish to express my gratitude to Mishtooni Bose, Arthur Burns, Jane Garnett, Peter Ghosh, Colin Matthew, Isabel Rivers and David Womersley for their comments and criticisms. John Walsh has generously encouraged my interest in nineteenth-century notions of the eighteenth century, and his uniquely full understanding of these two periods of church history has been an invaluable source of inspiration and sagacious guidance. 2. J.W. Burrow, 'A Passion for Omniscience', Times Literary Supplement, 4627 (6 December 1991), pp. 5-6. For a detailed study, see S. Collini, Public Moralists: Political Thought and Intellectual Life in Britain, 1850-1930 (Oxford, 1991).



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This essay is concerned with two major strands in the Victorian representation of their predecessor culture, which may be characterised as being either broadly Whig and religiously critical or quietly Tory and pronouncedly clerical. The more influential writers belong to the Whig camp: a recent study of eighteenthcentury religious language by a confessedly 'secular reader' is not untypical of works of modern scholarship in placing itself in the tradition of Pattison and Stephen.3 By contrast, the work of the clerical historians Abbey and Overton, when not being quarried for factual information by ecclesiastical historians, is in danger of declining to the status of mere antiquarian interest. In the light of late twentieth-century scholarship, both schools have their inevitable limitations. The Whig scholars are of preponderantly historical interest in the sense that their interpretations are very obviously the result of a particular historical epoch, displaying what Herbert Butterfield definitively described as 'the tendency in many historians to write on the side of Protestants and Whigs, to praise revolutions provided they have been successful, [and] to emphasise certain principles of progress in the past'.4 In contrast with this interpretation, the work of Abbey and Overton offers a means of understanding how clerically conservative scholarship evaluated the Christian culture of eighteenth-century England. This was a culture to which, for all their criticisms, Abbey and Overton were rather more receptive than were the likes of Stephen and Lecky. As sources for the historian of eighteenth-century religion, it becomes clear that, for all their high-church prejudices, Abbey and Overton provide a less pessimistic view of Hanoverian theology and philosophy than do the Whig narratives. Both interpretations ought to be somewhat suspect to the modern historian, whatever his confessional susceptibilities. Such a critical attitude towards nineteenth-century interpretations has considerable consequences for the historian of eighteenth-century thought. If the Whig interpretation is itself historicised, the familiar notion of the eighteenth century as being a transitional stage in the secularisation of English society may be questioned, and the clerical case for its having been an admittedly sluggish age of faith strengthened. This, however, is a subsidiary question, though one implicit in any twentieth-century analysis of this aspect of nineteenth-century historiography.5 In tracing these nineteenth-century alignments, it is important to bear in mind those who straddled the divide. James Anthony Froude, author of the once notorious novel Nemesis of Faith (the epitome of a nineteenth-century

3. I. Rivers, Reason, Grace, and Sentiment: A Study of the Language of Religion and Ethics in England, 1660-1780, i, Whichcote to Wesley (Cambridge, 1991), p. 4. 4. H. Butterfield, The Whig Interpretation of History (London, 1931), p. v. On the 'Whig Interpretation of English Literature', see Collini, Public Moralists, chap. 9. 5. For an extended argument stressing the centrality and vitality of religion in eighteenthcentury English thought, see B.W. Young, '"Orthodoxy AssaiPd": An Historical Examination of Some Metaphysical and Theological Debates in England from Locke to Burke' (unpublished University of Oxford D.Phil, thesis, 1990.)

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narrative concerning the crisis facing Victorian religious belief),6 leaned towards a Whig version of history, albeit that of an historian-prophet of strongly Carlylean tendencies, much of whose work was taken up in lauding the sixteenth century as an age of Protestant and nationalistic reform against centuries of Catholic 'superstition'.7 These tendencies in Froude's thought led Lytton Strachey to denigrate his historiographical contribution in a withering comparison which locates the central problem of his work with considerable acuity: 'The Whiggery of Macaulay may be tiresome, but it has the flavour of an aristocracy about it, of a high intellectual tradition; while Froude's Protestantism is — there is really only one word for it — provincial.'8 Froude, a life-long Tory radical, had been a disciple of Newman during a short career as a fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, living as he then did under the piously doctrinaire influence of his elder brother, the Tractarian Richard Hurrell Froude, who died young. There is no doubt that religion, however etiolated, remained central to the younger Froude's understanding of the world. This religious dimension, combined with his passionate Carlyleanism, made him suspicious of doctrines of progress, the 'common opinion in which all parties coincide', leaving him free to recognise change but feeling unable 'to catch the point of view from which to regard it with unmixed satisfaction'.9 Nationalism — political, emotional, and moralistic — predisposed him to romanticise England's past, especially when this was interpreted through a Protestant vision of manly innocence, thriving in an age before religious doubts had engendered the divergent responses of what Froude either castigated as effeminate Anglo-Catholicism or ruefully praised as tough-minded postChristian realism. It was this idealisation of his ancestors that allowed even the eighteenth century its tincture of heroism. Froude admitted the prevalence among his contemporaries of a cynical attitude towards eighteenth-century Anglicanism, sketching the conventional picture of an age of corruption and jobbery: The bishop, rector, or vicar of the Established Church in the eighteenth century is a by-word in English ecclesiastical history. The exceptional distinction of a Warburton or a Wilson, a Butler or a Berkeley, points the contrast even more vividly with the worldliness of their brothers on the bench. The road to honours was through political subserviency. The prelates indemnified themselves for their

6. For a useful discussion, see R. Ashton, 'Doubting Clerics: From James Anthony Froude to Robert Elsmere via George Eliot', in D. Jasper and T.R. Wright, ed., The Critical Spirit and the Will to Believe (London, 1989), pp. 69-87. 7. For a convincing account of the nuances and subtleties of Froude's position, see the magisterial exposition of his historical writings in J.W. Burrow, A Liberal Descent: Victorian Historians and the English Past (Cambridge, 1981), chaps 9-10. Analysis of Froude's thought in relation to that of Stephen and Lecky is made in J.P. von Arx, Progress and Pessimism: Religion, Politics, and History in Late Nineteenth-Century Britain (Cambridge, MA, 1985), chap. 5. 8. L. Strachey, 'Froude', in Portraits in Miniature (London, 1931), p. 205. 9. J.A. Froude, 'On Progress', in Short Studies on Great Subjects, 4 vols (London, 1878-83), ii, pp. 351, 355.

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ignominy by the abuse of their patronage, and nepotism, and simony were too common to be a reproach. Complementing this general complaint was a notion of the parochial clergy drawn from the satires of Henry Fielding. However, in Froude's opinion, this dissolute picture needed qualification, and here one hears the authentic voice of the Devonshire squarson's son as he lamented the loss of gentility in his age, for: 'Then, more than now, the cadets of the great houses were promoted, as a matter of course, to the family livings, and were at least gentlemen.' With this praise for hierarchy went a commitment to old-fashioned religion, and a concomitant criticism of the social pretensions of the Anglo-Catholic clergy slipped in alongside that of their ecclesiology: That the average character of the country clergy, however, was signally different from what it is at present, is not to be disputed. They were Protestants to the back-bone. They knew nothing and cared nothing about the Apostolical Succession. They had no sacerdotal pretensions; they made no claims to be essentially distinguished from the laity . . . They affected neither austerity nor singularity. They rode, shot, hunted, ate and drank, like other people; occasionally, when there was no one else to take the work upon them, they kept the hounds. In dress and habit they were simply a superior class of small country gentlemen; very far from immaculate, but, taken altogether, wholesome and solid members of practical English life.10 Protestant prejudices were utilised, effectively contrasting the failings of the nineteenth-century clergy: The Establishment was far more deeply rooted in the affections of the people. The measure of its strength may be found in those very abuses, so much complained of, which, nevertheless, it was able to survive . . . Dissenters sat quiescent under disabilities which the general sentiment approved. The revival of spiritual zeal has been accompanied with a revival of instability. As the clergy have learnt to magnify their office, the laity have become indifferent or hostile. The root of this disjunction lay in the very problem which had once separated Froude from communicating (in a liturgical sense) with his pious ancestors, namely the growth of unbelief and religious scepticism: The parson of the old school, however ignorant of theology, however outwardly worldly in character, did sincerely and faithfully believe in the truth of the Christian religion; and the congregation which he addressed was troubled with as few doubts as himself. Butler and Berkeley speak alike of the spread of infidelity; but it was an infidelity confined to the cultivated classes — to the London wits who read Bolingbroke or Hume's Essays or Candide. To the 10. Ibid., pp. 361-64.

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masses of the English people . . . the main facts of the Gospel history were as indisputably true as the elementary laws of the universe.

By contrast, the Victorian ritualist, faced with his own doubts and those of his congregation, was 'like a man toiling with all his might to build a palace out of dry sand'.11 English religion had thus become the victim of nineteenth-century 'progress', a decidedly pessimistic conclusion on Froude's part. Froude's pessimistic nationalism was not uncomplicated. Like Carlyle he was a vigorous partisan of German thought, praising its philosophers for facing up to the problems of unbelief. It was the Germans who 'carried out boldly the spirit as well as the letter of the Reformation' and who met 'the future with courage and manliness', retaining 'their faith in the living reality while the outward forms are passing away'. Nevertheless, the stability religion gave to the state encouraged Froude, who was on occasion something of an enigmatic sentimentalist for the ancien regime, to see the salvation of a France whose political stability had been threatened by the Communards as residing in the very form of faith which he otherwise consistently abhorred: the one class in this supreme hour of trial for that distracted nation in which there is most hope of good is that into which the ideas of Paris have hitherto failed to penetrate. The French peasant sits as a child at the feet of the priesthood of an exploded idolatry. His ignorance of books is absolute; his superstitions are contemptible; but he has retained a practical remembrance that he has a Master in Heaven who will call him to account for his life. In the cultivation of his garden and vineyard, in the simple round of agricultural toil, he has been saved from the temptation of the prevailing delusions, and has led, for the most part, a thrifty, self-denying, industrious, and useful existence. Keener sarcasm it would be hard to find on the inflated enthusiasm of progress.12

In his confessional essay on the Tractarian controversy, 'The Oxford CounterReformation', Froude had identified the historiographical revisions demanded by the followers of Newman: I was now taught that Gregory VII was a saint. I had been told to honour the Reformers. The Reformation became the great schism, Cranmer a traitor, and Latimer a vulgar ranter. Milton was a name of horror, and Charles I was canonized and spoken of as the holy and blessed martyr St Charles . . . Similarly we were to admire the nonjurors, to speak of James III instead of the Pretender; to look for Antichrist, not in the pope, but in Whigs and revolutionists and all their works.

This was 'Toryism in ecclesiastical costume',13 if not clerical Jacobitism; it was certainly an aspect of that revolt against the allegedly secularising 11. Ibid., pp. 364-66. 12. Ibid., pp. 367, 376. 13. Froude, The Oxford Counter-Reformation', in Short Studies, iv, pp. 247-48.


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eighteenth century which Maurice Cowling has characterised as being a central aspect of nineteenth-century religious and political thought.14 Cowling's subversively conservative study validates the idea of a broad dichotomy subsisting in nineteenth-century England between the Tractarian reaction and the politically motivated radical secularisers, the existence of which is also asserted in Froude's polemical memoir. As is sometimes the way with subjective observers, Froude himself demonstrates the inconclusiveness of such a claim; was he not a Tory radical, an ambivalent believer with a profound respect for Protestant England? Before turning to the narratives of eighteenth-century thought provided by self-professed secularisers, it is necessary to delineate a high-church perspective on its predecessor culture which similarly differed in tone from the condemnatory piety of Newman and his allies. In their magisterial two-volume work, The English Church in the Eighteenth Century (1878), Abbey and Overton noted the widespread Jacobitism of their clerical forebears; however, this was not Tractarian celebration of the fact, but historical criticism of 'an unquiet political spirit which was prejudicial both to steady pastoral work and to the advancement of sound learning'.15 This disapprobation was combined with a low view of eighteenth-century Anglicanism, especially regarding its spirituality: the mid eighteenth-century church wallowed in 'an indolent love of mere tranquillity'; a 'colourless indifferentism was the pest of the age'; although respected and held in affection by its members, the church 'fell evidently short in the Divine work entrusted to it'.16 Even heroes of late seventeenth-century Protestant rationalism were found guilty by association, albeit this charge was hedged in with some care by the authors: In an age notorious for laxity and profaneness, it was only too obvious that great professions for toleration were in very many cases only the fair-sounding disguise of flippant scepticism or shallow indifference. The number of such instances made some excuse for those who so misunderstood the Christian liberalism of such men as Locke and Lord Somers, as to charge it with irreligion or even atheism.17

The suspicion of the reader is alerted by that compromising idea of excusable misunderstandings; the anachronistic reference to 'liberalism' leaves open the possibility that it is a nineteenth-century tendency of thought which is the

14. M. Cowling, Religion and Public Doctrine in Modern England, ii, Assaults (Cambridge, 1985), chaps 1—4. For some sense of Newman's revulsion from the mass of eighteenth-century theology, see J.H. Newman, 'The Rationalistic and the Catholic Tempers Contrasted' [1836], in Essays Critical and Historical, 2 vols, 2nd edn, (London, 1872), i, pp. 30-99. 15. C.J. Abbey and J.H. Overton, The English Church in the Eighteenth Century, 2 vols (London, 1878), i, p. 15. 16. Ibid., i, pp. 12, 17, 19, 40. 17. Ibid., i, p. 270.

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conscious or unconscious subject of this slighting reference. This possibility is strengthened by the slippage between the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century vocabulary of 'latitudinarianism' and the nineteenth-century idea of broad churchmanship which becomes apparent in a passage critical of 'liberal' leaders: After the first ten or fifteen years of the century the Broad Church was in no very satisfactory state. It had lost not only in spirit and energy, but also in earnestness and piety. Hoadly, Sherlock, Herring, Watson, Blackburne, all showed the characteristic defect of their age — a want of spiritual depth and fervour. They needed a higher elevation of motive and of purpose to be such leaders as could be desired of what was in reality a great religious movement. For, whatever may have been its deficiencies, there was no religious movement of such lasting importance as that which from the latter part of the seventeenth century until near the end of the eighteenth century was being carried on under the opprobrium of Latitudinarianism.

While liberalism was thus implicitly disavowed, Locke himself was admitted into the Anglican canon (albeit with an emphasis on his influence on dissenting theology) as a 'sincere and devout Christian', differing 'in toto' from the deists, since he was 'a pious, reverent soul'.18 Other 'liberals' were less fortunate; the attempts by Samuel Clarke, Newton's philosophical adjutant, to justify Arian subscription to the Thirty-Nine Articles were dismissed as 'specious',19 while Benjamin Hoadly, interestingly derided by Abbey as the low church 'principle personified', was castigated for failing as an Anglican apologist. Hoadly's opinions lulled the energies of the church into 'a pleasant self-content of general philanthropy. The calm and dispassionate view of religion, however suitable it may be for philosophy, is too sluggish to contend with powers of sin and cope with spiritual corruption'. Similarly, the late eighteenth-century 'latitudinarian' Richard Watson was dismissed in a doubly damning comparison with a late seventeenth-century exemplar of that school, Gilbert Burnet: 'Like [Burnet] he was able, eloquent, and tolerant; like him, a strong Whig, and eager for reforms; like him, opinionative, interfering and conceited.' What saved Watson from further indictment was his penchant for answering dangerous opponents of the faith: his Apology for the Bible was held to have deflated Paine's Age of Reason, while 'His answer to Gibbon, in 1776, had been one of the best replies to the offensive innuendos against Christian faith contained in the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.'2® The Unitarianism which prospered in the wake of

18. Ibid., i, pp. 223, 229-31, 270. On the fluctuating reputation of Locke as a philosopher, see Hans Aarsleff, 'Locke's Reputation in Nineteenth-Century England', in From Locke to Saussure: Essays on the Study of Language and Intellectual History (London, 1982), pp. 120-45. 19. Abbey and Overton, English Church, i, p. 512. 20. C.J. Abbey, The English Church and its Bishops, 1700-1800, 2 vols (London, 1887), ii, pp. 4-6, 253-57.


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Arianising and Socinianising latitudinarianism was to be radically separated from Christianity, in contradistinction to which 'it differs as widely from what countless thousands have understood and still understand by the term, as a corpse differs from a living man'.21 Deism was treated with complete disdain; reference was early made to 'that mixed whirl of earnest inquiry and flippant scepticism which is summed up under the general name of the Deistic controversy'.22 This gave way partly to 'a gradual but real revival of religion', but also and more dangerously to 'a more thoroughgoing scepticism.' The mid eighteenth century, the peak of the movement, was also the high point of immorality: the link was obvious to a churchman of Abbey's stance.23 Sceptics like Horace Walpole and John, Lord Hervey were denied the excuse of personal philosophies, their views excoriated as being 'so evidently actuated by a bitter animus against the Church'.24 Naturally, the heroes were orthodox churchmen: Butler's Analogy was celebrated as 'the greatest theological work of the century'; likewise, Charles Leslie's anti-deist defence of the Trinity was praised as being 'a very valuable contribution to the apologetic literature' on the matter. Daniel Waterland's answer to Clarke's Arian musings was greeted as 'a masterly and luminous exposition, the equal to which it would be difficult to find in any other author, ancient or modern'. Such an achievement stood in need of a stout defence; accordingly, Waterland was pronounced to be 'one of the few really great divines who belong to the eighteenth century'.25 Similarly, in a biography published in 1881, Overton went on to celebrate William Law as a mysticallyinclined orthodox saint. Deeply antithetical to the limitations of his own times, Law 'was one of the greatest and best of his day. There were others of as original a genius, others of as brilliant talents, others of as self-denying, Christ-like lives; but few of his contemporaries combined all these excellencies to the same extent that William Law did.'26 Political conservatives as they were, Abbey and Overton considered answers to Paine vital in the face of the revolutionary threats of the 1790s; Abbey judged the cheap tracts produced by the evangelical Hannah More to be the most effective weapons in this necessary task.27 Above all, however, towered the greatest of religious counter-revolutionaries: 'It was an age of many pigmies and a few giants; and among the giants, none reached the stature of Edmund Burke . . . Burke was a real man, if ever there was one . . .'28

21. Abbey and Overton, English Church, i, p. 529. 22. Ibid., i, p. 4. 23. Abbey, English Bishops, i, pp. 229-33. 24. Abbey and Overton, English Church, ii, p. 24. 25. Ibid., i, pp. 37, 489, 495, 507. 26. J.H. Overton, William Law: Nonjuror and Mystic (London, 1881), p. 452. 27. Abbey, English Bishops, ii, p. 129. 28. Abbey and Overton, English Church, ii, pp. 407-8.

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There are curious parallels between this high-church narrative and the seminal essay of late Victorian reflection on eighteenth-century religion, Pattison's 'Tendencies of Religious Thought in England, 1688-1750', first published in the liberal Essays and Reviews in 1860. It is interesting to speculate on the possibility of a more personal relationship between these writers which might inform a reading of their works. Both Abbey and Overton had been undergraduates at Lincoln College, Oxford, although Overton did not graduate until 1858,29 seven years after a cooling in relations between Pattison and the other fellows of the college. This antagonism had resulted from Pattison's failure to secure the rectorship of Lincoln in 1851, an episode in college politics which was to sour his later years, despite his subsequent election to that office in 1861. Pattison was a convert to agnosticism from the school of Newman, and his Memoirs chart an intellectual progress from early religiosity maturing into unbelief. Witness the distancing achieved in his employment of the critical historical mode: The Tractarian movement has become historical, and has had more than one historian. As the starting-point of a great church revival, which is still in vogue, Tractarianism has attracted to itself the attention of the public, as though it were an independent phenomenon which could be known and apprehended without its genealogy being traced; whereas it was only one phase — the indispensable, reactionary, and complementary phase — in the movement of thought which belongs to the nineteenth century.30

The 1860 essay lies somewhere between these two confessional positions; there is, then, no inherent contradiction in finding in it both the acknowledged inspiration for Stephen's agnostic History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century (1876) and the historical basis for the studies of Abbey and Overton. Pattison was notably dismissive of his chosen period, declaring, however ironically, that: The genuine Anglican omits that period from the history of the Church altogether. In constructing his Catena. Patrum he closes his list with Waterland

29. Dictionary of National Biography Supplement, 1901-1911 (Oxford, 1920), 'Overton, John Henry'. There is no separate entry for Abbey, though the article notes that he was a college friend of Overton, becoming rector of Checkendon in Oxfordshire before undertaking the literary collaboration on The English Church in the Eighteenth Century. Overton served for some years as rector of Epworth in Lincolnshire, enjoying, as an historian of the eighteenth century, its association with John Wesley: 'As a native of the same county, a member of the same University, on the foundation of the same college in that University, a Priest of the same Church, a dweller in the same house, a worker in the same parish, a student for nearly twenty years of the Church life of the century in which John Wesley was so prominent a figure, the present writer has naturally for a long time taken the deepest interest in his subject . . .', Overton, John Wesley (London, 1891), pp. v-vi. 30. M. Pattison, Memoirs (London, 1885), p. 81.


Revival and Religion since 1700 or Brett, and leaps at once to 1833, when the Tracts for the Times commenced — as Charles II dated his reign from his father's death.31

Aside from toleration and evangelicalism, the presiding feature of the times lay in a triumph of rationalism, allowing Pattison to opine that the title of Locke's The Reasonableness of Christianity provided the 'solitary thesis of Christian theology in England' for the greater part of a century. From around 1688 to 1750, religious literature was preoccupied with the attempt to prove the truth of Christianity; about 1750 came a shift from purely philosophical reasoning with the new dominance of the evidential school, a narrowing of the controversy undertaken in order to substantiate the 'historical proof of the genuineness and authenticity of the Christian records'. Concentrating on the period 1688 to 1750, Pattison was able to typify the Christianity of that time as being closer to deism than it would allow: it was a prudential, ethical faith which Burnet and Tillotson preached; something akin to the reasoning of the deist Anthony Collins, who sent his servants to church to ensure that they would neither rob nor murder him, was at the heart of this moralising system. The theological ideals of the Reformation, the disputes over faith and works, had given way to 'the language and ideas of the moralists'.32 The old foundations of the faith had failed; even Butler, whose Analogy Pattison faintly praised,33 was a mere synthesist, his work acting as 'a resume of the discussions of more than one generation'. An anthropomorphic conception of God left the deity in the belittling status of a moral governor, the natural consequence of a theology 'which excludes on principle not only all that is poetical in life, but all that is sublime in religious speculation'. Rationalism was acquitted an apologetic failure, the victim of its reliance on good sense alone, as Pattison pithily demonstrated his contention: The career of the evidential school, its success and failure, — its success in vindicating the ethical part of Christianity and the regulative aspect of revealed truth, its failure in establishing the supernatural and speculative part — have enriched the history of doctrine with a complete refutation of that method as an instrument of theological investigation.

The Anglican experiment with a religion predicated on morality gave way to the justificatory arguments of the evangelicals, the proponents of a return to

31. Idem, 'Tendencies of Religious Thought in England, 1688-1750', in Essays ed. H. Nettleship, 2 vols (Oxford, 1889), ii, pp. 43-49. 32. Ibid., pp. 57-63. 33. It was a reading of the Analogy, recommended as a set-text at Oxford by Hampden, which first interested Pattison (a long-time reader of Pope) in 'eighteenth century speculation': Memoirs, pp. 134-35. Pattison was instrumental in having Butler's work removed as a set-text. On Butler's changing reputation in nineteenth-century moral philosophy and theology see J. Garnett, 'Bishop Butler and the Zeitgeist: Butler and the Development of Christian Moral Philosophy in Victorian Britain' in C. Cunliffe, ed., Joseph Butler's Moral and Religious Thought: Tercentenary Essays (Oxford, 1992), pp. 63-96.

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the doctrines of the Reformation.34 This in turn gave ground to the Tractarian assault, and the desire to re-catholicise the faith of the English church: the point of entry for Pattison's liberal doubts. It was the influence of Tractarianism which was rebuked by Thomas Candy, a fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, in his Antidote to Pattison's essay: 'Had he been proof against their dogmatism and un-English spirit of religious bondage, he would not have discovered rank Rationalism in the works of which the Church is, I hope, still justly proud; nor by implication made the same Tracts its conqueror.'35 Pattison was too hard on eighteenthcentury theologians, who were very far from being mere rationalists, since what they actually did was to appeal to men 'who gloried in their reason' by 'confessing how much was beyond their power to learn'. Pattison, the historian of doctrine, was guilty of a fatal inversion, traducing the moralising 'teaching of the age' into the 'belief of the age', the latter a mere 'compound of Atheism, Deism, Pantheism, and Epicureanism, which left the Christians in a diminished minority'.36 Pattison's heterodox sympathies were alluded to with reference to his 'studied defence' of Anthony Collins, Candy finding it 'strange that the sympathies of the reverend and learned the Rector of Lincoln should be with the ignorant Pantheist . . .'37 Ignoring Candy's characteristic slight on Collins's intellect, it is significant that he should have detected the covert elision between Tractarianism and unbelief which Pattison's essay represents. Leslie Stephen's History definitively turned the Whig analysis of the eighteenth century into what has been called an agnostic 'Tract for the Times'.38 As a Cambridge don descended from adherents of the Clapham Sect, Stephen had been largely immune from the charms of Tractarianism: as an agnostic journalist and professional man of letters, he had no qualms in demonstrating his distance from Christianity as a whole. In this stance of combative liberation, he would have been fortified by the work of Lecky, whose History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe (1865) provided a more explicitly positive view of 'rationalism' than that described by Pattison. For Lecky 'rationalism' was an integral element in 'the movement of secularisation', as it subordinated 'dogmatic theology to the dictates of reason and conscience', greatly restricting its influence on life. The decline of the 'miraculous' likewise displayed itself as a 'manifest. . . fruit of civilization'; this decline was emphasised by the sceptical scholarship of the eighteenth century, thereby aiding the emergence of rational unbelief in the nineteenth century.

34. Pattison, 'Tendencies of Religious Thought', pp. 81-86, 115-18. 35. T.H. Candy, The Antidote; Or, an Examination of Mr Pattison's Essay on the Tendencies of Religious Thought (Cambridge, 1861), p. 30. 36. Ibid., pp. 21, 28. 37. Ibid., pp. 24, 27. 38. J.W. Bicknell, 'Leslie Stephen's English Thought in the Eighteenth Century: A Tract for the Times', Victorian Studies vi (1962), pp. 103-20.


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Allied to this was a 'secularisation of polities', a development warmly welcomed by an Irish nationalist confronting dogmatic politico-theologies.39 Lecky went on to produce an eight-volume History of England in the Eighteenth Century (1878-90), which portrayed the high-church party as petulant wreckers who sought, along with their Tory allies, to do down the tolerant and progressive policies of the Whigs. Utilising the conventionally evaluative language of gender (common to all the writers discussed in this essay), Lecky praised the latitudinarian clergy as the polar opposites of the high churchmen, so that whereas Burnet possessed 'an eminently masculine mind', high church polemics merely gave way to 'feminine spitefulness'.40 This theme, with chronological variations, dominates the study. Lecky had taken a lower view of the deists than Pattison, and it was deism which Stephen took up as the dominating theme of his work, for he saw in that movement the intellectual ancestry of agnosticism.41 Like Pattison, a reading of whose essay had encouraged him to write his History, Stephen discerned in late seventeenth-century Protestantism the temporarily successful apologetics of rationalism: 'The vigour of English theology at this period — and it was the golden period of English theology — is due to the fact that, for the time, reason and Christian theology were in spontaneous alliance.'42 The eighteenth century, however, witnessed the decline of this melding of faith and reason, although the conventional 1688 to 1750 periodisation had its temple of worthies, a group which disinterestedly encompassed major figures from each of the various interests of the English church: Amongst the champions of the faith might be reckoned Bentley, incomparably the first critic of the day; Locke, the intellectual ruler of the eighteenth century; Berkeley, acutest of English metaphysicians and most graceful of philosophic writers; Clarke, whom we may still respect as a vigorous gladiator, and then enjoying the reputation of a great master of philosophic thought; Butler, the

39. W.E.H. Lecky, History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe, 2 vols (London, 1865), i, pp. xviii-xxiii, and chap. 2; ii, chap. 5. On the politics of Lecky's secularism, see von Arx, Progress and Pessimism, chap. 3. 40. Lecky, A History of England in the Eighteenth Century, 8 vols (London, 1878-90), i, pp. 82, 88. On the association of effeminacy with Anglo-Catholicism, see D. Milliard, 'UnEnglish and Unmanly: Anglo-Catholicism and Homosexuality', Victorian Studies, xxv (1981-82), pp. 181-210. This binary opposition of manly Protestantism and feminine Catholicism is deeply entrenched in English Protestantism; it can be found in Milton's celebration of republicanism as the 'manliest' form of government and his disapprobation of monarchy as being 'unmanly': 'The readie and easie way to establish a free Commonwealth', in The Works of John Milton, 18 vols (New York, 1931-38), vi, pp. 119, 122. I am grateful to Isabel Rivers for making me think about Milton in this connexion. The nineteenth-century ethos of 'Muscular Christianity' had its secular counterpart in the 'manly' ethos of Liberalism, on which see Collini, Public Moralists, chap. 5. 41. See the argument of N. Annan, Leslie Stephen: The Godless Victorian (London 1984), pp.231-33. 42. Stephen, History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century, 2 vols (London, 1876), i, pp. v, 76.

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most patient, original, and candid of philosophical theologians; Waterland, the most learned of contemporary divines; and Warburton, the rather knock-kneed giant of theology, whose swashing blows, if too apt to fall upon his allies, represented at least a rough intellectual vigour.43

As it had been in Pattison's analysis, it was the 'liberal' wing which proved to be the preserve of Stephen's more scathing criticisms: Clarke's Arian theology was decried as a weak compromise between Christianity and deism; Edmund Law, Locke's greatest disciple, was not qualified to 'supply the defects of his master', and stood condemned as a man of low speculative ability. Paley, the seminal apologist for religion in the Cambridge in which Stephen had been educated, was the weakest of the lot. His 'masculine' but 'rigid' mind was unsuited to metaphysical analysis; Paley was an advocate, not a philosopher, a mathematician rather than a theologian.44 It was this inability of the post-1750 evidential school to defend the faith which let down the orthodoxy of older scholars, such as Joseph Butler, whose realism and acceptance of suffering had made him one of the heroes of Stephen's study (the others, more predictably, being Hume, Adam Smith, and, as a proto-evolutionist, Burke). Unitarianism was the unsatisfactory result of this failure;45 however, this deviation from orthodoxy was of little consequence to Stephen, whose primary concern was with the lack of seriousness of the sceptics, men like Gibbon and Horace Walpole, whose concern for order allowed them to cooperate in the maintenance of a religion whose veracity they doubted in order to enjoy the social and political security which resulted from its enforcement.46 Stephen could not respect such equivocation: if unbelief was to progress in the nineteenth century, then the failures of its analogues in the eighteenth century had to be analysed and the lessons learned. Such was the purpose of his History, the second volume provided a history of the social sciences which had grown up in that century, the originals of the social systematisation Stephen later tried to develop, and also of the rise of evangelicalism, the religious movement whose various nineteenth-century successors Stephen sought to undo. The eighteenth century provided the means to intellectual liberation, and its failings had to be understood if progress was to be achieved.

43. Ibid., i, p. 86. 44. Ibid., i, pp. 129, 406-20. Paley had been subject to criticism for most of the nineteenth century. On the doctrinal origins of this criticism, see G.A. Cole, 'Doctrine, Dissent and the Decline of Paley's Reputation, 1805-1825', Enlightenment and Dissent, vi (1987), pp. 19-30. 45. Stephen, History of English Thought, i, pp. 420-25. Stephen's brother, the jurist James Fitzjames Stephen, took a rather more critical view of Butler in two review essays, finding his philosophy of analogy unconvincing and expressing a marked preference for the argument of his sermons: 'Bishop Butler', in Horae sabbaticae, second series (London, 1892), pp. 280-95, and pp. 296-314. 46. Stephen, History of English Thought, i, p. 272.


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Stephen's prescriptivism drew from his analysis of eighteenth-century thought something like a programme for a secular future, while Lecky, similarly involved with the politico-religious intricacies of Ireland's association with England, sought a means of undercutting the confessional tribalism which he considered to be at the root of his nation's dilemmas. Pattison, the withdrawn scholar, saw himself as the sceptical chronicler of a past which had been subsumed within the patterns of nineteenth-century thought. Abbey and Overton, the archetypal scholarly parish priests, sketched the edifying or horrifying history of the church to which they had committed themselves. None of these narratives was purely innocent, and all fell within the religiouslydetermined contours of thought laid out by Tractarianism and the secularism which thrived alongside it. There is a sense in which Tractarianism dictated the historical vocations of Froude and Pattison, as both had worked as young men on the Lives of the Saints, an apologetic project supervised by Newman. Froude's involvement with these hagiographies inspired Strachey to one of his most satirical digressions in his life of Cardinal Manning: One of the disciples at Littlemore was James Anthony Froude . . . and it fell to his lot to be responsible for the biography of St Neot. While he was composing it, he began to feel some qualms. Saints who lighted fires with icicles, changed bandits into wolves, and floated across the Irish Channel on altar-stones, produced a disturbing effect on his historical conscience. But he had promised his services to Newman, and he determined to carry through the work in the spirit in which he had begun it. He did so; but he thought it proper to add the following sentence by way of conclusion: 'That is all, and indeed rather more than all, that is known to me of the blessed St Neot; but not more than is known to the angels in heaven.'47

Abbey and Overton benefited from the high-church revanche which followed in the wake of Newman's conversion to Roman Catholicism; Stephen withdrew from the religion of his distinguished evangelical family into social evolutionism.48 Theirs was, then, present-centred history: for Lecky and Stephen the solutions to current problems were to be sought in the past; the churchman was to find in the histories of Abbey and Overton fit subjects for religious reflection; for Pattison the past (whilst serving other functions) taught one how to understand contemporary thought; for Froude, history provided the means for the deployment of moral and political imperatives. In the process, history was inevitably distorted: heroes and villains were identified, and religious and philosophical movements measured against the requirements of the times. William Warburton, a controversial figure in the history of eighteenth-century thought, was in Stephen's jaundiced eye 'a

47. L. Strachey, 'Cardinal Manning', in Eminent Victorians (London, 1918), p. 35. 48. J.W. Burrow, Evolution and Society: A Study in Victorian Social Theory (Cambridge, 1966), pp. 28-32, 193-94.

Knock-Kneed Giants


feeble-jointed and knock-kneed giant', to be 'studied as illustrating the uglier tendencies of eighteenth-century thought'.49 In attempting to understand eighteenth-century thought, the late twentieth-century scholar has to engage with the knock-kneed giants of the nineteenth century, remembering their prejudices and blindspots, their battles and programmes, since their histories remain indisputably the best available synthesis of Hanoverian religion and philosophy. In reading these nineteenth-century studies of eighteenth-century thought with an alertness to their implied or explicit programmes, the modern historian can uncover a good deal about the essentially religious contexts of Victorian thought, as well as acquiring the rudiments of an understanding of those which shape much of eighteenth-century intellectual life.

49. Stephen, 'Warburton', in Essays On Freethinking and Plainspeaking (London, 1873), pp. 286, 295; History of English Thought, i, chap. 7. For a similar dismissal, see Pattison, 'Life of Bishop Warburton', in Essays, ii, pp. 119-76. Fitzjames Stephen sketched a more positive view of Warburton as a champion of religious reason: 'Warburton's "Divine Legation"', 'Warburton's Minor Works', in Horae sabbaticae, second series, pp. 315-32, and pp. 333-48.

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6 Edward Irving: Prophet of the Millennium Sheridan Gilley

Those brought up on Greek mythology may remember the story of Phaethon, the son of Apollo, who drove his father's sun chariot across the sky but came too near the earth and scorched the lands below him. The life of Edward Irving suggests some such celestial metaphor, both in the swiftness of its passing and its disturbance to the earth, Irving was born at Annan in Scotland in 1792, in the year that the French Revolution began to set Europe ablaze with its armies. Indeed 1792 was the very year when, according to Irving's own exegesis, the Revolution's attack on the Roman Catholic Church rang the death-knell of the Scarlet Woman of Scripture. Irving lived through the greatest modern upheaval of Christendom, to die a mere forty-two years old in 1834. His chief work was done in a still briefer period, between 1822, when he became minister of the Caledonian Chapel in Hatton Garden in London, and 1834, when he died an Angel of the Catholic Apostolic movement. It was that decade from 1822 which saw the modern crisis of the Protestant evangelical faith, a crisis which split the English religious world asunder. Irving was the central figure of that crisis and its principal cause. He passed too near the earth in the chariot of the sun and the lands below were scorched by his driving. Irving was reared in Scottish Presbyterianism but his influence was to be an international one, forming a chapter in the stormy history of modern popular Protestantism. The kirk was to drive him from her bosom; but from the first, the fashionable crowds who flocked to his London sermons were not confined by nationality or sect, being held in the spell of a power which had already become both metropolitan and cosmopolitan. This essay is not concerned with Irving the Scot, but with Irving the redefiner of the Protestant tradition. England rather than Scotland made the premillennial Pentecostalist and Angel of what became the Catholic Apostolic Church. Even so, Irving's youthful attendance at secessionist churches in Ecclefechan marked his instinctive break with established religion and his association with those who found rational religion repugnant. His early adult life in Scotland was restless; his work as a school teacher and licensed preacher — in the first role, he seems to have been something of a bully — was frustrating. He associated with both the Scots who were so powerfully to influence England in the first half of the nineteenth century: the two Thomases, 95


Revival and Religion since 1700

Carlyle and Chalmers, both hostile, in their different ways, to the legacy of the Scottish Enlightenment; Carlyle, like Irving, found continued life in Scotland unacceptable. Nor was Irving to pass to a little Scotland. The chapel in Hatton Garden which invited Irving was a southern outpost of the Church of Scotland and was connected with the Caledonian Asylum, but waived the requirement that the new minister speak Gaelic, and in London, Irving entered on his international evangelical inheritance. That inheritance made Irving heir to the great eighteenth-century spiritual awakening begun in the 1730s by the Wesleys, Whitefield and Howel Harris, the so-called 'Second Reformation', the international pietest movement known in Britain as the Evangelical Revival. That revival was still a small thing in Britain when Irving was born in 1792. At John Wesley's death the year before, his Wesley an Connexion had 77,000 members; its great expansion began in the 1790s, as it severed its ties with the Church of England. Yet that act of separation coincided with the blossoming of Anglican evangelicalism within the English religious establishment. Here the decisive events were Charles Simeon's ministry at Trinity church, Cambridge, from 1782, which made that city and university the English capital of evangelicalism; the conversion of William Wilberforce in 1785; and, from 1792, the ministry of John Venn, in the then leafy south London suburb of Clapham, which was later to win the fashionable evangelicalism of the generation after 1790 the nickname the Clapham Sect. The vast growth of the evangelical voluntary societies, the so-called '10,000 compassions'1 of evangelicalism, for converting and civilising the world, also began in the 1790s, sometimes on a non-denominational basis: the London Missionary Society was founded in 1795; the Church Missionary Society and Religious Tract Society in 1799; the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1804. The annual meetings of these societies and the smaller associations innumerable in London in May gave rise to the tradition of May meetings, centred from around 1830 on Exeter Hall, and to the creation of a London religious world, a world which was the setting of Irving's London ministry. Yet in that very phrase, the 'religious world', lay for Irving the heart of its offence, for Irving was to denounce this 'religious world' as 'worldly', as a 'worldly world', and not a religious one at all. At first sight, nothing could be less true of Irving than to call him simply otherworldly. The son of a tanner, he could display his knowledge of leather to convert an infidel cobbler. His boyhood love of popular sport and swimming is a legend, as are the stories of his great frame and height and youthful physical violence: as when having walked with his school pupils eighteen miles to hear the great Dr Thomas Chalmers preach, he secured a pew with the threat, 'Remove your arm, or I will shatter it in pieces'.2 On other 1. F.K. Brown, 'Ten Thousand Compassions and Charities', in Fathers of the Victorians: The Age of Wilberforce (Cambridge, 1961), pp. 317-62. 2. Mrs Oliphant, The Life of Edward Irving, Minister of the National Scotch Church, London, 2 vols (London, 1862), i, p. 43.

Edward Irving: Prophet of the Millennium


occasions, he got entry to an inn by threatening to throw the occupants out the window, and to the General Assembly by knocking down a door. Yet Irving's flamboyance was that of other visionaries of his period, who were not lacking in a gift for unselfconscious self-advertisement or in real practical ability. The sensation artist of the 1820s was the Northumbrian John Martin, who had the skills of an engineer to plan a water supply for London, but painted gigantic lurid oils from the very Books of Daniel and Revelation which so inspired Irving: 'The Fall of Babylon', 'Belshazzar's Feast', 'The Great Day of His Wrath', 'The Plains of Heaven'.3 Martin had one eccentric brother who was a near genius as an inventor, another who burnt down the choir of York Minster under the illusion he was King David. Genius and madness in this world were close allied. Another contemporary figure who challenges comparison with Irving is the Catholic convert Augustus Pugin, the genius of the Gothic Revival, whose mother was a close attender on Irving's Hatton Garden preaching. Like Irving, Pugin wore flamboyant cloaks and delighted in acts of the humblest charity to the poor. There is a story of Pugin carrying a seaman's chest on his back, as of Irving carrying the load of an Irish pedlar; we find Pugin founding a charity for seamen and Irving preaching gratis for one. Both died worn out in their early forties — Pugin was just forty — having in a brief life-time done the work of many ordinary men. Irving also delighted in children, was a brilliant teacher, and was known to have preached with a child high on his shoulder. In him, as in Pugin, there was a democratic approach to the common people, a deep humanity instinct with a wholly conservative politics, which bred in him, as in Pugin, otherworldliness. The Catholic Pugin and the Catholic Apostolic Irving were alike in revolt against the stifling respectability and concern for appearances which were to make up the pervasive ethos of the England of Victoria: that worship of Mammon, of the ideals of comfort and a competence, was one point of Irving's rejection of the 'respectable' religious world. Respectability, indeed a certain smugness, was the spiritual danger of Clapham; a sense that we have all this to enjoy and heaven too. Evangelicalism prospered in the industrial age as a sanction for respectability, in that odd conjunction between the evangelical and utilitarian ethic caught so neatly by G.M. Young: that the virtues of a Christian after the Evangelical model were easily exchangeable with the virtues of a successful merchant or a rising manufacturer, and that a more than casual analogy could be established between Grace and Corruption and the Respectable and the Low. To be serious, to redeem the time, to abstain from gambling, to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, to limit the gratification of the senses to the pleasures of a table lawfully earned and the embraces of a wife lawfully wedded, are virtues for which the reward is not laid up in heaven only.4 3. W. Feaver, The Art of John Martin (Oxford, 1975). 4. G.M. Young, Victorian England: Portrait of an Age (Oxford, 1939), p. 2.


Revival and Religion since 1700

That too easy reconcilation of God and Mammon had very little to do with Irving's own deepest instincts as a Scottish holy man, who like his fellow millenarian J.N. Darby in the Wicklow hills, walked the Scottish and Irish countrysides, taking refreshment in the humblest cottages, with a common touch — a simplicity, recalling the friar-beggar saints of Catholic Europe. We can see this indifference to appearances in Irving's first great quarrel with the religious world, in 1824, when he preached a three-and-a-half-hour sermon in Whitefield's Tottenham Court Road chapel for the London Missionary Society. Irving's theme was the 'ideal missionary' like St Paul, who travels the earth without staff or scrip, certainly with no thought of supporting home societies and committees of gentlemen in black coats and white neckties. As the Society asked Irving to preach to swell the lists of its subscribers, it was not pleased with a view of mission which seemed to make them superfluous. Nor did Irving help matters by dedicating the sermon to his semi-heretical friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In fact, Irving's trust in the power of the Lord alone in missionary work passed straight into otherworldly premillennial doctrine, as will be seen, in his reaction against any notion of mission — indeed of Christianity — conceived in terms of some this-worldly success. There is much to be said on behalf of the religious world in its quarrel with Edward Irving, for the quarrel was seemingly the difference between the Christianity of settled or established churches and the Christianity of the sect, between churches sustained by 'holy worldliness' and the sect inspired by 'otherworldliness'. These types of Christianity recur perennially. The 'otherworldly' Christian despairs of human effort, even under grace, to transform the world, so he despises it, withdraws from it and rejects it. In the vision of 'holy worldliness', it is by human effort under grace that the world is overcome, is transformed and made holy. It was this vision of 'holy worldliness' that William Wilberforce invoked in his work of 1797, A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, an exhortation to the upper and middle classes to recognise that their Christianity was merely nominal and to adopt a real and living faith. Nor was Wilberforce seeking just the conversion of individuals, for through the regeneration of the individual he saw the possibility of a regenerate nation, and an England and an empire which were Christian. From the French Revolution he drew the lesson that revolution was the consequence of a national abandonment of Christianity, and to that revolutionary alternative he opposed a combination of moderate political conservatism and, within the bounds set by capitalism, some idealistic reform. One consequence of Wilberforce's work was the efflorescence of evangelical voluntary philanthropy; another was the increasing success of the crusade against the slave trade, leading to the abolition of the trade in slaves in 1807 and of slave-owning itself in 1833. The evangelicals were not opposed to radical reforms: Wilberforce and his friends supported the political emancipation of the Roman Catholics. They showed a middle path between pure revolution and political reaction, a compromise with a more than religious appeal; it was the appeal of this, in a deepening religious mood of national crisis

Edward Irving: Prophet of the Millennium


and national seriousness, that initiated the great nineteenth-century recovery in the habit of church-going which has only collapsed in our own century. The 'holy worldliness' of William Wilberforce stood for the converted individual and the converted nation, in an optimistic affirmation of what very moderate social and political effort could achieve. With this went a genuine attempt to transcend the religious politics of evangelical partisans, by cooperation with men of all religious schools and none, together with the hope that Christianity was not opposed, in otherworldly fashion, to scholarship and learning, literature and culture. There was another hope as well, that of Christianising pagan cultures through the foreign missions, by the provision of schools as well as churches, so that Christ's kingdom might come through a converted world. In the famous words of a Victorian hymn: Nearer and nearer draws the time, the time that shall surely be, When the earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.5

Nor was this all. The bridge between the Christian world and nation and the individual Christian was the Christian family, and 'holy worldliness' bred 'holy joyousness', an acceptance of the innocent domestic pleasures of hearth and home, of eating and drinking, of the love of the members of the household for one another, and even of novel reading, a habit of Wilberforce which pained some of his admirers when they learned of it after his death. Certain pleasures, of course, were ruled out of court: the evangelicals got a bad name for their crusades, especially when they touched on the pleasures of the poor, in campaigns against sabbath breaking, dog and cock fighting, bull and bear baiting, as well as duelling, prostitution and the favourite fashionable casual violent sports and pastimes of the eighteenth century. Even here, however, the dominant evangelical note was hatred of cruelty, for an essential aspect of Clapham's holy worldliness was a belief in the desirability of happiness in this world as in the next, a this-worldly happiness opposed to the cruelty of the slave trade as to every kind of immorality. Not that the Clapham Sect's enthusiasm for innocent pleasure should be exaggerated: James Stephen once smoked a cigar and found it so delicious that he never smoked again.6 But holy worldliness does describe a certain quality of holy joyousness, a world-affirming acceptance of godly, especially domestic, pleasure, and an affirmation of literature and culture, of social and political improvement and of missionary activity, in an effort to realise Christ's kingdom in this world. It is necessary to stress the political and cultural aspirations of the Clapham

5. Canon A.C. Ainger's 'God is working his purpose out', written out of a Victorian optimism hardly justified by subsequent events. 6. M. Hennell, 'Evangelicalism and Worldliness, 1770-1870', in G.J. Cuming and D. Baker' ed., Popular Belief and Practice, Studies in Church History, 8 (Cambridge, 1972), p. 233.


Revival and Religion since 1700

Sect in its Golden Age, 1790—1830, the age of Simeon and Wilberforce, because it was in this very period, for both religious and political reasons, that other nations defined their religion — or lack of it — for the following century. Nations in ferment in the modern era, like Bolshevik Russia or Iran under Khomeini, sometimes opt violently for or against religion; the years 1790-1830 were just such a time. By its alliance after 1790 with political nationalism, the Roman Catholic Church won the seemingly permanent allegiance of Ireland and Poland. By its assertion of conservative legitimism, it lost a large portion of the French middle and working classes to irreligion. These were also the years when the United States rejected the deism of the enlightenment for the old time religion of revival as the foundation of its popular culture. Could evangelicalism achieve the same in England? The answer was no, and the reason for that answer was at least partly Irving. As has been suggested, Irving did not want religion to succeed in the Clapham manner, if such worldly success implied Gospel failure. Irving seems to have touched with unerring skill on every point on which the Clapham Sect's synthesis was vulnerable to disintegration. He cast a sudden light, at times a lurid light, on every weakness which was to make an evangelical England impossible. Irving's departure from this liberal evangelicalism can be made clear by reference to the Scots Presbyterianism in which he grew up, in the contrast between him and his sometime superior, the Scottish counterpart of Simeon and Wilberforce, Thomas Chalmers. When Irving went to Glasgow in 1819, as Chalmers' assistant in the parish of St John's, he became part of Chalmers' famous social experiment to support the poor out of the voluntary freewill giving of the parish church, not by enforced poor rates and poor laws. Chalmers was an evangelical convert, but his vision was that of a Christian commonwealth, of a Scottish Christian nation with a national church, in which the church sustained the poor: it was this Christian commonwealth that his social programme was intended to make real. Chalmers, in his enthusiasm for the British and Foreign Bible Society, also carried into Scotland the Clapham Sect's campaign for foreign missions. He was no cultural despiser but rather a brilliant mathematician, the author of works on Christian evidences, and in 1833 of a celebrated Bridgewater treatise on the relations between science and religion, described by Chalmers' latest biographer, Stewart Brown, as 'a reassertion of Wilberforce's rational Evangelicalism, which Chalmers had embraced at his conversion over twenty years earlier — a world-affirming faith, emphasizing man's social nature and respecting man's intellectual achievements'.7 In these matters Irving was to overturn everything Chalmers stood for, and the older man's incomprehension of his brilliant assistant was to widen to a gulf between them. Why was the Wilberforce-Chalmers evangelical synthesis so vulnerable?

7. S.J. Brown, Thomas Chalmers and the Godly Commonwealth in Scotland (Oxford, 1982), p. 219.

Edward Irving: Prophet of the Millennium


First, it depended on a degree of pan-evangelical cooperation.8 That proved difficult with Arminian Wesleyans and anti-paedobaptist Baptists. Denominational loyalty also had its own momentum, and the London Missionary Society which began as a non-denominational organisation, was solely Congregational by 1820. One of the ironies of Irving's increasing sense that all existing churches were apostate was to be his involvement in the creation of yet another denomination, the Catholic Apostolic Church, even though this claimed to be an ecumenical body. Pan-evangelicalism needed a measure of ecumenical theological agreement, as had been achieved by Simeon and Chalmers, by reconciling or side-stepping the differences between a moderate Calvinism and Arminianism. Evangelicalism, however, sometimes encouraged a stronger Calvinism, by translating the evangelical distinction between the converted and unconverted into a Calvinist distinction between the elect and non-elect. Calvinists like the Haldanes disapproved strongly of cooperation with Christians in more liberal or Arminian traditions, and from 1828, Alexander Haldane's Record newspaper won the radical evangelical extreme an unenviable reputation for partisan narrowness and bigotry, while Haldane himself led a vigorous campaign against the inclusion of Unitarians in the Bible Society. The 1820s also witnessed a growing ethical revolt against some of the harsher aspects of Calvinist orthodoxy, especially the ideas that Christ died only for the elect, and hellfire and eternal punishment. In Scotland this reaction is associated with John McLeod Campbell and Thomas Erskine of Linlathen, but it was a widely-based movement in England, a liberal current which in the 1830s was to carry the future novelist George Eliot out of evangelicalism altogether. This anti-Calvinism was also to be found among moderate evangelicals like the future archbishop of Canterbury, John Bird Sumner, who, against Calvinist teaching of antinomian tendency, stressed the need for holiness. It was this holiness teaching which led a number of evangelicals, like the young John Henry Newman, into a much more Catholic-minded sacramental theology, into the conviction that baptised infants were automatically regenerate, and with it a higher doctrine of the ministry and the church.9 Such high churchmanship heightened denominationalism, so that pan-evangelicalism in the 1820s was increasingly confronted by competing rival churches claiming a firmer hold upon the truth. In the 1830s, Newman founded a movement, the Oxford Movement, for the renewal of the Church of England, which set out to repudiate the church's Protestant character and the ecclesiastical status of the dissenting churches altogether, and restore Catholic teaching 8. R.H. Martin, Evangelicals United: Ecumenical Stirrings in Pre-Victorian Britain, 1795-1830 (Metuchen, NJ, and London, 1983). 9. T.L. Sheridan, Newman on Justification (New York, 1967); D. Newsome, 'Justification and Sanctification: Newman and the Evangelicals', Journal of Theological Studies, n.s., 15 (1964); T.C.F. Stunt, 'John Henry Newman and the Evangelicals', Journal of Ecclesiastical History, n.s. xxi (1970), pp. 65-74; S. Gilley, 'Newman and Prophecy, Evangelical and Catholic', Journal of the United Reformed Church History Society, 3 (1985), pp. 160-88.


Revival and Religion since 1700

resembling Rome's. The Oxford Movement carried out of the evangelical party the leadership of a whole evangelical generation. The most famous name lost by evangelicalism to the new Anglican high churchmanship was that of an evangelical of Scottish ancestry, William Ewart Gladstone.10 Gladstone's closest friend, another evangelical, Henry Edward Manning, ended up like Newman a Roman Catholic cardinal. Manning was brother-in-law to William Wilberforce's son, Samuel, and was a close friend of another Wilberforce son, Robert; Newman was the friend of a third Wilberforce son, Henry. Samuel Wilberforce became not an evangelical leader in Israel, but a famous high-church bishop, while the three other Wilberforce sons followed Newman and Manning into the Church of Rome.11 Irving bitterly opposed both this Catholicism and liberalism, yet he also contributed to the Catholic and liberal dissolvents of moderate Clapham Evangelicalism. Irving's biographer Mrs Oliphant thought Irving's doctrine of baptismal regeneration indistinguishable from the Anglo-Catholic, while of his solemn blessings and benedictions on working-class houses and on children, 'Peace be to this house', 'The Lord bless thee and keep thee', she remarks that he had 'a certain priestly attitude which is not usual in Scotland, — the attitude of a man who stands between God and his fellows'.12 Irving's horror of theological liberalism as apostasy was also shared by the Oxford Movement, as was his political conservatism, an interventionist Tory paternalism strongly hostile to laissez-faire. Monsignor Ronald Knox compares him with Newman: 'Either', wrote Knox, 'had the same reactions to the Age of Reform; either foresaw, and branded as apostasy, our modern preoccupation with politics.'13 This was the mystery of Newman which he shared with Irving, that, in the words of a holy priest, 'he did not give a damn for this world',14 either for its this-worldly success or its ultimate this-worldly happiness: this was the unclean spirit of the utilitarian age. Indeed Irving's horror of rebellion and of political democracy and belief in divine right were, like Newman's, rooted in the Anglican tradition: both men loved the early Anglican theologians, on whom Irving based his often ponderous but often sonorous and musical prose style; his special affection was for the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity by the sixteenth-century divine Richard Hooker. He believed, like Hooker, in an Apostolic Succession, albeit a non-episcopal one; he believed in a Real Presence in the eucharist. We may undoubtedly call him in certain respects a high churchman. Irving's spirit Christology — his belief that Christ was holy and unsinning through the power of the indwelling spirit — is very 10. P.A. Butler, Gladstone, Church, State and Tractarianism (Oxford, 1982); P.J. Jagger, Gladstone: The Making of a Christian Politician (Allison Park, PA, 1991). 11. D. Newsome, The Parting of Friends: A Study of the Wilberforces and Henry Manning (London, 1966). 12. Oliphant, Life of Irving, i, pp. 112, 122. 13. R. Knox, Enthusiasm: A Chapter in the History of Religion (London, 1950), p. 557. 14. C.S. Dessain ed., The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, xi (London, 1961), p. xvii.

Edward Irving: Prophet of the Millennium


like the patristic doctrine of sanctification by the indwelling spirit developed a decade later in the doctrine of the indwelling godhead in Newman's Lectures on Justification. There is also the curious chronological near-coincidence that the first Catholic Apostolic Apostle was called in 1832 and Newman's Oxford Movement began in 1833. Both movements were to develop a sacramental liturgy richer than the Presbyterian and Prayer Book worship from which they came. This growth in liturgical symbolism followed Irving's death, and Irving's connexion with the new church was brief and unhappy, but it is some evidence of his sacerdotal tendencies that the Regent Square church which he built was in the new Gothic style, with a facade and towers modelled on York Minster, and dedicated by Irving with an unction recalling a Catholic church or Jewish temple. From the evangelical viewpoint, the Oxford Movement and what became the Catholic Apostolic Church looked like heresies of evangelicalism, each in its own way a return in doctrine, ministry and liturgy to some of the cardinal 'errors' of Rome. Irving's contribution to liberalism is more clear, though it still awaits precise definition. He may have learned at the feet of Samuel Taylor Coleridge something of his guiding principle of the internal witness of the Spirit. He may also have indirectly imparted, as Geoffrey Rowell suggests, something to the broad churchman F.D. Maurice, of the notions that the New Testament covenant embraced all mankind, and the spirit was given in the first instance to humanity, not to individual men. Maurice may have partly owed to Irving his conviction that 'the Incarnation was more than a means to the Atonement, it was the manifestation of God to men'.15 Irving certainly came to share McLeod Campbell's and Erskine's insistence that Christ died for all and not only the elect, while Campbell and Erskine shared Irving's fascination with the first outbreaks in 1830 of Scottish Pentecostalism. Irving's theology was at heart founded on the profoundest antiliberalism and anticatholicism, and though he is the first modern divine to distinguish between water and spirit baptism, his pentecostalism looked like a freakish deadend in its day, with no influence beyond the bounds of his Catholic Apostolic Church. Modern pentecostalism has a wholly independent origin and owes nothing directly to Irving.16 Irving's contribution to the dissolution of moderate Clapham evangelicalism, the doctrine for which he had influence in his own day, was his prophecy of the millennium. Not as a Catholic or a liberal or even as a Pentecostal did Irving influence the theological mood of his generation: rather he gave it a new understanding of what the millennium was. Here again, Irving stood in a tradition deriving from the prophetic Books 15. G. Rowell, Hell and the Victorians (Oxford, 1974), p. 77. 16. This seems to me clear from both C. Gordon Strachan, The Pentecostal Theology of Edward Irving (London, 1973) and A, Dallimore, The Life of Edward Irving: Forerunner of the Charismatic Movement (Edinburgh, 1983), both of which argue from affinities and resemblances between Irving and a later pentecostalism rather than a direct influence by the one on the other.


Revival and Religion since 1700

of Daniel and Revelation, which by a long line of Christian scholars were believed to hold the key to human history.17 The Book of Daniel was, on the face of it, written by Daniel the prophet in the sixth century before Christ. According to modern scholars, it was in reality largely written in the second century B.C. to encourage the Maccabean Jews in their resistance to the Seleucid emperor, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who had set up an 'abomination of desolation' in the temple in Jerusalem.18 The two celebrated dreams or visions in Daniel are of a statue of gold, silver, brass and iron, with its famous feet of part iron, and part the proverbial clay, and of four beasts, the fourth more monstrous than the others. The statue and the beasts were originally alike intended to represent the four great kingdoms of the world, of Babylon, Media, Persia and the Hellenistic empire of Alexander the Great and Seleucia; the Little Horn of the Seleucid fourth beast was Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The four beasts of Daniel, however, reappear in a monstrous beast in the Book of Revelation, a beast which the Fathers of the church took to be the Roman Empire, and the Scarlet Woman who rides the beast is the mystic Babylon, the city of Rome, with her name, 'MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS' (in reference to the first of the monster empires), emblasoned on her forehead, after the custom of the prostitutes of Rome. The medieval heretics and Protestant reformers transferred these images from pagan to papal Rome, so that in Protestant mythology, the 'Little Horn' and the 'Scarlet Woman' were the Roman Church and pope, who was also denounced as the 'Man of Sin' of Thessalonians and the Antichrist of the Johannine epistles. It was this body of bloody apocalyptic images which lay at the heart of the Protestant rejection of Rome, presenting images of the Roman Church as the embodiment of ultimate evil, the Antichrist, within an interpretation of the world's four empires spanning the greater part of recorded human history. This history went with a chronology. The seventeenth-century Puritan Joseph Mede found in Daniel the period when the 'Little Horn' would rule, in the mysterious time, times, and half a time, i.e. one time, two times and half a time, which adds up to the three and a half times or years also described in Daniel as forty-two months. The author of the book was describing the period during which the abomination of desolation would stand in the temple; but the time recurs as the 1260 days in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation, as the duration of the period of exile and captivity of the Christian church. Joseph Mede decided that these days must be years, a prediction of the 1260 years when the papal Antichrist would rule to persecute the saints of God.19 In the century after Mede, this historicist view of Revelation, as a prediction 17. For a modern Seventh Day Adventist premillennial view of the subject, see Le Roy Edwin Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers: The Historical Development of Prophetic Interpretation, 4 vols (Washington, DC, 1950-4). 18. L.F. Hartman and A.A. Di Leila, The Book of Daniel (New York, 1978). 19. See, on Mede, Paul Christianson, Reformers and Babylon: English Apocalyptic Visions from the Reformation to the Eve of the Civil War (Toronto, 1978), esp. pp. 124-9.

Edward Irving: Prophet of the Millennium


of the 1260-year domination of the papal Antichrist, was accepted by the greatest scientist of the age, Isaac Newton, and by his episcopal namesake Thomas Newton, whose Dissertations on the Prophecies made the theory wholly respectable. But when the French Revolution turned on the Roman Catholic Church, a horde of Protestant exegetes decided that the 1260 years were now accomplished, in 1792 or 1793. They then dated the beginning of the papal Antichrist by subtracting the 1260 years from 1792 back to 533 A.D., when they discovered that the universal jurisdiction of the pope had been recognised by the Pandects of the Emperor Justinian. What was more, Daniel also referred to 1290 and 1335 days, thirty and seventy-five days more than the basic 1260: these extra days, many decided, must also be years, so that from 1792 this world would last another seventy-five years, till 1867 when the end would come. Thus the last days were divided into two eras of thirty and forty-five years, it was during this period between 1793 and 1867, that God would pour out the fearful judgements on apostate mankind described in the woes and vials of the Book of Revelation, in a time of turmoil, and terror and tribulation. The first five vials had been poured between 1793 and 1823, so that the world was now living in the text at Revelation 16:12 where the angel is pouring the sixth vial of divine wrath, of exactly the kind which the new political and industrial revolutions were inflicting on the suffering earth.20 The French Revolution, and a new kind of social and political unrest, reawakened the Protestant apocalyptic mentality, with a new attention to the letter of the scriptural text, which proved that the last days had come. Certain manifestations of this concern were simply eccentric, founded in deeply ingrained Bible-based popular superstitions, like Richard Brothers, who foreshadowed the British Israelite theory that the British were the lost tribes of Israel, or, even more famous in her day, Joanna Southcott, of the notorious black box, who, as the woman clothed with the sun in Revelation 12, claimed to be pregnant with a new Messiah.21 Yet the millenarian tradition was a learned one, and even touched the Clapham synthesis at points: an important aspect of prophecy was the end of the Mahometan power and the restoration of the Jews to Palestine and their conversion, a theme which spoke to the evangelical enthusiasm for missions; it was Simeon who called himself 'Jew-mad'. Moreover millennialism, which had inspired and continued to inspire radical and even revolutionary politicians, was also fed, like the wider evangelicalism, by conservative upper-class fear of revolution, both abroad and at home. The ablest bishop of the Church of England, Samuel Horsley, who welcomed the French Catholic refugees to England as exiles from revolution, saw the true figure of the coming Antichrist not in Roman Catholicism but in French revolutionary infidelity. 20. S.C. Orchard, English Evangelical Eschatology, 1790-1850 (unpublished University of Cambridge Ph.D. thesis, 1969); W.H. Oliver, Prophets and Millennialists: The Uses of Biblical Prophecy in England from the 1790s to the 1840s (Auckland, 1978). 21. R. Matthews, English Messiahs: Studies of Six English Religious Pretenders, 1656-1927 (London, 1936).


Revival and Religion since 1700

A more popular Protestant perception bridged the old notion and the new one: Roman Catholic despotism and superstition had bred their opposites, revolution and unbelief, and that consideration influenced Irving. All these elements are to be found in Irving's three-hour sermon of 1825, 'Babylon and Infidelity Foredoomed of God',22 preached to the Continental Society, which interpreted prophecy as a sanction for its crusades against Roman Catholicism and liberal Protestantism. Irving spoke of the assurance in prophetic Scripture of the end of the 1260 year-old Babylon of Rome, the Tittle Horn' of Daniel, in 1792; of the time of trial and tribulation which was to last for seventy-five years following; of the ravages of radicalism and revolution in politics, and of liberalism and rationalism in religion, sometimes uniting with Rome, as in the campaign in Britain to emancipate the Roman Catholics; of the existing churches as increasingly under these influences, both apostate and fallen; of the restoration of the Jews to Palestine; and of Christ returning in 1867 to a darkened and unconverted world. It will be obvious how pessimistic this was, in its lack of hope for the evangelical mission; how remote from the Clapham Sect, with its vision of a converted world. There was undoubtedly a melancholy strain in Irving. As a man of transcendent powers, he had known long years of frustration as a probationer for the ministry in a church still dominated by moderates, who rewarded family connexion and not talent. He had undergone the terrible unhappiness of his broken love affair with Jane Welsh, whom as a little girl he had tutored and to whom he had told the names of the stars; though it is notorious that when she married Carlyle, this made only two people unhappy and not four. Irving's own marriage did not begin as a love match and, while he loved his wife, it cannot have been easy living with her constant ill-health, and the early deaths of nearly all their children. Irving's adoption of prophetic views was also the result of the singularly plastic cast of his personality in the strong hands of other people. The man who gave him his idea of the millennium was a very minor prophet called James Hatley Frere, who was to theology what John Martin was to art. Frere's influence became supreme in 1824—25, being confirmed by the worst crisis of Irving's life, the death of his infant son in October 1825. Frere's understanding of prophecy was premillennialist, and premillennialism was Irving's most potent legacy to Protestantism. The millennium, the darkest mystery of prophecy, is the era described in the twentieth chapter of the Book of Revelation as the thousand years during which the saints will rule the earth. This seventh day of sabbath rest was sometimes supposed to follow the six millennial days of Creation, being identified with the fifth monarchy of Daniel following the four beasts or empires of world history. Millennialism was popular in the early church, but suffered gradual eclipse as the church was identified with the millennial kingdom. There were Puritans who revived it with the doctrine of the premillennial Advent, that 22. Expanded into a two-volume work (Glasgow, 1826), and dedicated to J. Hatley Frere.

Edward Irving: Prophet of the Millennium


the millennium would be inaugurated by Christ's Second Coming, but the radical excesses of groups like the Fifth Monarchy Men brought the notion into disrepute. Eighteenth-century Protestants believed that, if there was to be a millennium, it would come in gradually with conversions to Christ. This' put Christ's Second Coming in its conventional postmillennial position, after the millennium and not before it, and so postmillennialism was inclined to gradualism and optimism; to the Clapham Sect's hopes for the this-worldly prospects of the Gospel, which meant that Christ might return to a converted world. This also fitted in with liberal utopianism and secular enlightenment rationalism, the hope for the realisation of a world which was happy as well as holy. It was despised by Irving on that very count. Irving briskly dismissed the Clapham view as not the millennium of Scripture, but the optimism of the philosophers, 'the beau ideal of triumphant Arminianism'. Tye, oh, fye upon it!' he declared; 'ye Christians have fathered upon the scriptures the optimism of the German and French infidels!'23 Where post-millennial Adventism was gradualist and optimistic, in harmony with ideas of laissez-faire and of material, mental and moral progress, Irving's premillennialism was catastrophic and pessimistic, seeing both the world and the churches as so lost that only Christ's Second Coming could redeem them. It was not human effort, not societies run by committees of gentlemen who would convert the earth with subscription lists and sermons. The earth would be converted by Christ Himself returning, in the Second Coming. This wicked world would be rendered Christian not by Christians but by Christ, in his Second Coming to an unconverted world. There was another twist in Irving's adoption of premillennialism in 1824-25: his infinite tenderness for the suffering of the flesh, that tenderness which underlies his spirit of Christology — his conviction that Christ must have suffered and been tempted as we are. This breaks out in the noblest lines he ever wrote, on the death of his infant son Edward, in his account of how his belief in the premillennial advent came upon him. And why should not I speak of thee, my Edward! seeing it was in the season of thy sickness and death the Lord did reveal in me the knowledge and hope and desire of His Son from heaven? Glorious exchange! He took my son to His own more fatherly bosom, and revealed in my bosom the same expectation and faith of His own eternal Son! Dear season of my life, ever to be remembered, when I knew the sweetness and fruitfulness of such joy and sorrow.24

As Mrs Oliphant put it, the thought of seeing his Lord in the flesh cast his mind into a kind of ecstasy, confirming him in his faith in a bodily resurrection and in his contempt for a merely spiritual immortality in some 23. 'Preliminary Discourse by the Translator' to Juan Josafat Ben-Ezra, The Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty, 2 vols (London, 1827), i, pp. viii-ix. 24. Mrs Oliphant, Life of Irving, i, p. 247.


Revival and Religion since 1700

kind of ethereal heaven. For he now had the hope of seeing his own son and God's Son together in the flesh, his own son rising from the tomb to enjoy the glory of Christ's kingdom. The influence of Irving's teaching on the evangelical world reached its height in 1826 when the evangelical elite assembled for the first of its conferences on prophecy at Albury Park, apostrophised by Irving in poetry, the lovely Surrey home of the banker Henry Drummond, whose lively and acid personality bridged the gulf between the most worldly society and the most unworldly religion.25 Drummond was to remain a man of the world, even in becoming an Apostle of the Catholic Apostolic Church; some of the other participants were more fantastic still, such as Joseph Wolff, a German Jew who abandoned his training in Rome for the Catholic priesthood to become an explorer and Protestant missionary. He penetrated the heart of central Asia to Turkestan, Bokhara and Kashmir, to preach the premillennial Gospel, and ended his days as a high-church Somerset rector married to the daughter of an English peer, the earl of Orford.26 The Jewish and Catholic elements in Wolff's background recur in the form in which Irving chose to give his teaching to the world, his translation of a work in Spanish, a language which he had only just begun to learn, ostensibly written by a convert Jew, Juan Josaphat or Josafat Ben-Ezra; in reality by a Chilean Jesuit, Manuel de Lacunza Y Diaz, who became a recluse in Italy after 1767 when his order was disbanded by the Spanish crown. 27 Judaism and anticatholicism exercised a potent fascination over the millennial Protestant mind. Ben-Ezra-Lacunza embodied that double fascination, quite apart from the mysterious, and to Irving, the providential circumstances which brought the book to his attention, and through the mysterious Ben-EzraLacunza, Irving converted the coming evangelical elite to premillennialism. Lacunza's book is indeed full of mysteries, and there is a need for more research about him and about the 'Father Paul of the Conception of the Order of the Barefooted Carmelites' who wrote the introduction. The book seems to have circulated for years in manuscript, was not published until 1812, and was disseminated by Spanish refugee exiles from the restored Spanish Catholic monarchy and Inquisition. By what might be seen as prophetic of the Falklands War, the Argentine envoy who financed the first edition in England of the work in 1816 was General Belgrano. Lacunza denounced papal Rome as Babylon and its priesthood as apostate, like the Jewish priesthood of old. Yet on other points of doctrine, his is not an explicitly anti-Roman Catholic work, and his hatred of the rising tide of infidelity anticipated and reinforced 25. A.L. Drummond, Edward Irving and his Circle (Cambridge, 1934). 26. On Wolff, see Froom, Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, iii, pp. 461-81; D.N.B. 27. I have not seen either of the two works on Lacunza, A.F. Vaucher, Une celebrite oubliee: le Padre Manuel de La Cunza y Diaz (Collonges-sous-Saleve, 1941); and F. Mateos, 'El padre Manuel de Lacunza y el milenarismo', Revista chilena de historia y geografia, 115 (1950), pp. 134-61. He is extensively treated in Froom, Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers especially iii, pp. 303-24. Mateos is the author of the entry on Lacunza in the New Catholic Encyclopedia.

Edward Irving: Prophet of the Millennium


Irving's. Irving's 'Preliminary Discourse', which runs to nearly 200 pages, does not spare the Roman Church as the cause of that infidelity 'fast breeding out of the serpent's egg of superstition'. But his own view of the apostate condition of all the churches hardly left him with a preference between old Babylon and modern irreligion, and indeed he declared himself readier to believe in transubstantiation than to hold the Eucharist a mere commemorative sign. He spoke tenderly of Lacunza's popery as the candid and ingenuous error which does not obscure the truth in his teaching, and acknowledged that even as to Babylon, 'God hath a people in the midst of her, of whom I believe that my Ben-Ezra was one'.28 Although Lacunza had died in 1801, Irving still hoped to meet the old Saint in the flesh and to receive his blessing, and rejoiced in him as a witness from the Roman Church, that the end of all kirks and churches was now at hand. Irving's love of Lacunza arose from the Jesuit's exposition of the premillennial Advent, but the latter did not subscribe to the Protestant historicist tradition of a 1260-year-old papal Antichrist, holding the conventional view, maintained by the Fathers and many Protestants, that the Antichrist was yet to come, although Lacunza taught that this would be the Roman Church, not an individual. Irving suggested that the literal 1260 day rule of a future infidel Antichrist might mirror the symbolic 1260 days or years of rule by popish Babylon, and under the letter of Revelation he discerned a triple reference to the pagan, papal and infidel persecutions of the church. This combines in the adroitest manner the Protestant historicist view of prophecy and the futurist interpretation of the Antichrist to come, with the modern scholarly attitude that Revelation describes events in the first Christian century. This triple structure was supported by a patristic typology. Irving was quite ready to admit that prophetic meanings change, so that the prophecy of Emanuel to Ahaz gains a new and fuller sense when Gabriel speaks to Mary. This made literalism mysterious, and must excuse Irving some of the sharpest criticism of his influence. The American scholar E.R. Sandeen has traced the roots of modern American fundamentalism to the prophetic writings of Irving and his period, but his scriptural literalism at least had the merit of complexity, just as his anticatholicism was modified by the real love for Roman Catholics.29 I cannot end on too positive a note. Iain Murray has described Irving's premillennial pessimism as the 'eclipse' of the Puritan hope for a new heaven on earth.30 Without embracing a merely this-worldly Christianity, we must acknowledge the value of the antislavery crusade, of the truly Christian humanism of Wilberforce. Wilberforce's successor as the greatest of the evangelical saints was the social reformer the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. There is the paradox, enunciated by Boyd Hilton, that where the Clapham 28. 'Preliminary Discourse', Coming of the Messiah, i, pp. xxvi, xxiv. 29. E.R. Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism, 1800-1830 (Chicago, 1970). 30. I.H. Murray, 'The Eclipse of the Hope', The Puritan Hope: A Study in Revival and the Interpretation of Prophecy (Edinburgh, 1975), pp. 185-206.


Revival and Religion since 1700

Sect, with its belief in science and knowledge, was willing to leave the main business of the economy to the providential operation of the laws of laissez-faire, it was the premillennialists of Irving's school like Shaftesbury and Edward Bickersteth, with their belief in a radically interventionist and millennial God, who were readiest to demand government intervention to help the poor, even by suspending these same laws of laissez-faire.31 In this way Shaftesbury perpetuated Irving's paternalist Toryism, but Shaftesbury, for all his wonderful qualities, was a manic-depressive wholly lacking in Wilberforce's holy joyousness: Shaftesbury was not, like Wilberforce, the kindest of fathers and best of friends. Again, James Stephen's lament about the lack of men of culture among the evangelical leaders of the generation after 1830 also has its point,32 as does the degeneration of antiliberalism and anticatholicism into pure Orange Toryism.33 The attenders at Albury Park included the local Anglican incumbent Hugh M'Neile, who destroyed non-denominational education in Liverpool, consigning that city to a century of sectarian war; and that saintly bigot, J.N. Darby, the founder of the Plymouth Brethren, who replaced historicism with Lacunza's millennial futurism, who preached a contempt for a merely human culture and for the apostate existing churches even surpassing Irving's, systematising this contempt in a 'dispensational' system which allowed the churches no part in the future millennial kingdom. It is Darby's idea of the 'rapture' of existing Christians from the world before its great tribulation which is on the lips of those who now have the means to make Armageddon real. Irving's cocktail of anticatholicism, antiliberalism, premillennialism and scriptural literalism is still a powerful one, especially in the United States. It has the merits of making an anti-religious secular liberalism uncomfortable and of demanding an ultimate world-denying religious commitment from its members. Its defects are fairly self-evident, not least its demonisation of its opponents; nor is its fundamentalism obviously true; nor has it ever appealed to more than a minority in England. By deploying it to divide evangelicalism, Irving may have halted the seemingly inexorable advance of a moderate evangelicalism to privilege and power. For all my love of him, I prefer the kindlier air of Clapham. To return to my opening celestial metaphor: Irving will shine more brightly than Wilberforce among the saints in starry heaven; but he left behind a troubled earth.34 31. B. Hilton, 'The Role of Providence in Evangelical Social Thought', in Derek Beales and Geoffrey Best, ed., History, Society and the Churches: Essays in Honour of Owen Chadwick (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 215-34; B. Hilton, The Age of Atonement: The Influence of Evangelicalism on Social and Economic Thought, 1795-1865 (Oxford, 1988). 32. 'Oh, where are the people who are at once really cultivated in heart and understanding - the people with whom we could associate as our fathers used to associate with each other. No "Clapham Sect" nowadays.' Cited M. Hennell, Sons of the Prophets: Evangelical Leaders of the Victorian Church (London, 1979), p. 92. 33. J. Wolffe, The Protestant Crusade in Great Britain, 1829-1860 (Oxford, 1991). 34. On the larger picture, see D.N. Hempton, 'Evangelicalism and Eschatology', Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 31 (1980), pp. 179-94. On the development of the Catholic Apostolic Church, which owed little to Irving, see P.E. Shaw, The Catholic Apostolic Church sometimes called Irvingite: A Historical Study (New York, 1946) and C.G. Flegg, 'Gathered under Apostles': A Study of the Catholic Apostolic Church (Oxford, 1992). The latter was published after this essay was written.


Gladstone, Evangelicalism, and 'The Engagement' H.C.G. Matthew

That religion played a central part in the public and private life of W.E. Gladstone is obvious enough. Quite what part it played is less clear.1 As in so many facets of Gladstone's life, close examination suggests uncertainty and ambivalence. In this, as in those other facets, he is characteristic of an epoch, hard to pin down. Gladstone was from an early age conscious of the representative character of his own beliefs and those of his friends. Although his statements about religion seemed personal, they were in fact more often commentary than self-analysis. The latter is chiefly confined to the annual retrospects he wrote in his journal on his birthday (29 December) and on the last day of the year. An essay such as this is not the place for a full-scale analysis of Gladstonian religion, but it is an opportunity to explore two themes: first, the significance of Gladstone's coming to terms with the evangelicalism in which he was raised; second, the context of its subsequent development in a very Victorian search for rules of conduct. Gladstone's evangelical origins are well known, and he attested to them in later life, though with a certain caution about his own development.2 The evangelicalism of the Gladstonian household gave him a determination during his schooldays at Eton to maintain his religion despite the college's lax attitude.3 Indeed, the concept of the autonomous development of the evangelical soul probably made this an easier task for Gladstone than for a 1. The main works are Alec R. Vidler, The Orb and the Cross: A Normative Study in the Relations of Church and State with Reference to Gladstone's Early Writings (London, 1945); Perry A. Butler, Gladstone, Church, State and Tractarianism (Oxford, 1982); Agatha Ramm, 'Gladstone's Religion', Historical Journal (1985); Boyd Hilton, 'Gladstone's Theological Polities' in M. Bentley and J. Stevenson, High and Low Politics (Oxford, 1983); D.M. Schreuder, 'Gladstone and the Conscience of the State' in P.T. Marsh, ed., The Conscience of the State (London, 1979); H.C.G. Matthew, Gladstone, 1809-74 (Oxford, 1986); P.J. Jagger, Gladstone: The Making of a Christian Politician (Princeton, 1991); R.T. Shannon, Gladstone, i (1982). My interest in considering further the theme of Gladstone and conversion was stimulated by some comments John Walsh made to me on a draft of chapter 1 of my biographical study of Gladstone. 2. See his article, 'The Evangelical Movement: Its Parentage, Progress, and Issue', British Quarterly Review (London, July 1879), reprinted in Gleanings of Past Years (London, 1879), vii, p. 201. 3. Matthew, Gladstone, p. 9. 111


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boy with a broad-church background, for private religious experience was both expected and required by the context in which he was placed by his parents. For all its deficiencies, Eton life exposed Gladstone to the routines of normative Anglicanism, and he seems to have accepted without question the idea of confirmation in the Church of England, an important mental step in his integration into the religious and political establishment. At Eton, Gladstone's close intellectual friendship with Arthur Hallam exposed him to Whig ideas,4 and Whig ideas which included the concept of the Whig national church. Eton thus provided a broad context for religious development, while at the same time reinforcing his evangelicalism. Already at Eton, interest in traditions other than the evangelical was apparent. Reading of Roman Catholic prayers signified not merely intellectual curiosity — though that was no doubt a factor, for Gladstone dabbled throughout his life — but also a tendency, an awareness of a wider tradition.5 Of course, that by no means implied a rejection of evangelicalism: it could have led to a confirmation of it. At the university of Oxford, where he began his studies in October 1828, Gladstone pressed on with his evangelicalism. Required to attend daily services in Christ Church Cathedral (also the college's chapel), his irritation and disappointment with the Church of England increased.6 The sermons were often, in Gladstone's view, more desultory than they had been at Eton. Yet this was the chapel of the most prominent college in the senior university, the handmaid of the Church of England! Attendance at non-compulsory services such as Holy Communion (unlike some colleges, attendance and participation at communion was not required at Christ Church) was poor, the service joyless. Gladstone formulated the view, widely expressed in his later writings, that the Church of England of his youth was only slowly emerging from the 'stagnant atmosphere' of the post-1715 church in which the Jacobitism of the parochial clergy was in destructive tension with the Hanoverian episcopate. This had produced 'a gradual decline of the religious life, until it passed almost into general paralysis'.7 Gladstone therefore supplemented the already substantial diet of Christ Church religion by attendance at St Peter's church and at St Ebbe's church, where he met the Rev. Henry Bulteel and the group which that formidable evangelical gathered around him.8 Bulteel was, very unusually for Oxford, an ultra-Calvinist who preached the doctrine of grace. Gladstone commented 4. Ibid., pp. 11-13.

5. See The Gladstone Diaries (subsequently £>), vols i and ii, ed. M.R.D. Foot (Oxford, 1968), 24 Sept. and 1 Oct. 1826. 6. See, e.g., A 24 July 1831. 7. Gladstone, 'The Evangelical Movement', p. 204. 8. Gladstone later described the group thus: 'these youths belonged to a school of ultraCalvinism, which lay far in advance of the ordinary Evangelical tenets'; Gladstone, 'The Evangelical Movement', p. 212.

Gladstone, Evangelicalism and 'The Engagement'


later that with Bulteel 'the flame was at white heat'. When Bulteel preached the sermon in St Mary's on 6 February 1831 which, through its uncompromising and by then unfashionable Calvinism, led to his national notoriety, Gladstone, already bewildered by reading Erskine of Linlathen's The Brazen Serpent a few days earlier, recorded in his diary an entry which shows clearly his attraction and his ambivalence to this extreme form of evangelicalism: It must rouse many 8t various feelings. God grant it may all work for good . . . after having heard the remarkable sermon of this remarkable man, I cannot but still remember the words of St Paul (in reference to the extent of redemption) [:] For as by the disobedience of one the many were made sinners, so also by the obedience of one shall the many be made righteous.9

Association, however ambivalently, with Bulteel and his little circle was not an easy position for an Etonian at Christ Church intended by his family for public life. Gladstone later recalled the difficulties of the evangelical layman: evangelicalism left on the laity 'the mark of exclusiveness, and tended to a severance from society, without securing an interior standard of corresponding elevation'.10 This posed some awkward social as well as religious questions for a Christ Church undergraduate at that time. The St Ebbe's group was markedly different in tone from those whom he met at the wine parties of Christ Church and at the W.E.G. Essay Club which Gladstone founded to improve the opportunities for political, literary, philosophical and historical discussion (the W.E.G. did not discuss religious subjects except inferentially). Gladstone's papers for the Essay Club nonetheless addressed religious subjects indirectly, as did his notes on Plato and Aristotle and other classical authors. At the same time, he began privately to write papers on directly religious subjects such as baptism and Sabbatarianism.11 Interested by the St Ebbe's set, Gladstone found a line drawn between its members and himself. He was questioned elaborately in his first term by a member of the set as to why, given his 'family & principles', he was not attending that church.12 The catechism probably put him off. When he did go, he heard Bulteel preach on 'I know that my Redeemer liveth'; Gladstone found that the sermon was 'suited well to my circumstances, and touching'.13 On another occasion he heard John Hill, vice-principal of St Edmund Hall, the best-known college for evangelicals. The same day, he discussed with Anstice (a student friend) the University Sermons preached in St Mary's, which he 9. D, 6 Feb. 1831. Gladstone wrote 'a strange letter (anon.) to Bulteel — & put it up to deliver to his house with Erskine's book' (D, 8 Feb. 1831). Bulteel's case and his relationship with St Ebbe's and Oxford University is well described in G.L. Carter, 'Evangelical Seceders from the Church of England' (unpublished Oxford. D. Phil, thesis, 1990), chap. 7. 10. Gladstone, 'The Evangelical Movement', p. 219 11. See D, 13 July 1828, 3 July 1831. 12. D, 15 Nov. 1828. 13. D, 29 Mar. 1829.


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usually attended. Anstice told him: '"depend upon it such sermons as these can never convert a single person"'. Gladstone commented in his diary, 'Turn thou me O God & I shall be turned.'14 Anstice used the term 'converted' in the sense of a sharp turning. Gladstone had not undergone such an experience, and this necessarily separated him from the Bulteel set. His mother believed he had been 'truly converted to God' when he was about ten,15 but this was not an experience recollected by Gladstone. When in 1853 he revisited Seaforth, the village near Liverpool where he was brought up, he noted in his diary, 'the memory of my ungodly childhood came thickly upon me. Others may look back upon that time as one of little strain: for me it offers nothing in retrospect but selfishness and sin'.16 Gladstone could not therefore share the extreme view of conversion of the Bulteel set, at least in part because he had not undergone such an experience himself, in the sense of a conversion clearly experienced and sensed at a particular time. Given Gladstone's religious origins, this was clearly a vital question, and one critical to a religiously minded undergraduate at the age of twenty. Contact with the St Ebbe's set brought it into focus. It raised the question for him of whether the language of evangelicalism — the language which he had been taught to use and on the whole did use — in fact reflected his belief. As Perry Butler has put it, 'did he ever feel what as a professed evangelical he was meant to feel?'17 On 10 January 1830, in his second year as an undergraduate, Gladstone began to write 'on Conversion'; he finished the sixteen-page paper the next day.18 Like many of Gladstone's papers on similar matters, it is not autobiographical: it discusses the question generally, not, at least explicitly, in the light of his own experience. Nonetheless, it illuminates his own position. Though to write 'on Conversion' might seem to suggest a strong evangelical interest, the significance of the paper really lies in Gladstone's intellectual movement beyond evangelicalism. For the effective conclusion to be drawn from the paper is that for Gladstone evangelicalism was not enough. The paper, 'The Doctrine of Conversion', discusses Matthew 20, 'Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.' The text shows, the paper begins, that 'something called by the name of conversion is laid down as absolutely necessary to salvation'. Defining his terms, Gladstone argues that conversion 'means neither more nor less than "turning"'. The term has, in his view, been misused: 14. D, 23 May 1830. 15. G.W.E. Russell, Mr Gladstone's Religious Development: A Paper Read in Christ Church, May 5, 1899 (London, 1899), p. 7, and Butler, Gladstone, Church, State and Tractarianism, p. 12, Matthew, Gladstone, p. 6. 16. D, 6 November 1853. 17. Butler, Gladstone, Church, State and Tractarianism, p. 27. 18. B.L. MS Add. 44719, fol. 216ff; quotations in this and subsequent paragraphs are taken from this paper. It can be dated from Gladstone's diary entries, see D, 10 and 11 Jan. 1830.

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It has been, most unfortunately for the cause of vital religion, invested with a multitude of ideas which are not included within its signification: circumstances altogether extraneous have been attached to it, and signs commonly arbitrary and frequently erroneous and improper have been laid down as tests of its existence or nonexistence in the souls of particular individuals.

In Gladstone's view, this 'corrupt view' caused 'the general rejection . . . of the doctrine of conversion'. Rightly conceived, conversion in its widest sense must be understood to mean the whole of that turning which man's nature can ever require. It then includes turning (to keep up the metaphor which represents our spiritual operations by motion in particular directions over space) from a course often diametrically opposed to God's law to one in perfect parallelism with it. It is obvious I trust now to all, as it hath always been except to a very few, that such a conversion as this is so far from being the work of a moment that it cannot even be considered as the work of a life, unless indeed we are expected[?] to believe that absolute perfection is allowed to some few before death . . . From hence it would appear that we may in a certain sense continue in a course of conversion, or a succession of turnings, throughout the whole of our earthly existence. And so indeed, as it seems to me, we may.

The move from 'a turning' to 'a succession of turnings' captures Gladstone's position well. Conversion 'resolves itself into a question of degrees'. Even so, following his analogy of motion, there must be a point at which the balance tips from evil towards good: since we see that the change it implies is a change from the general or invariable dominion of the evil principle, to the general or habitual governance of the good, it is clear that there must be a turning point at which the one loses the general ascendancy and the other acquires it. This is as clear (to use a familiar illustration) as that in going from London to Edinburgh we must cross the border, because it is intermediate. Here then we have the true point of conversion in that limited sense of the term as a question of degrees which has been before attributed to it.

However, although the border is known to the cartographer, it is not necessarily apparent to the traveller. Despite this line being crossed, the traveller is ignorant of his or her crossing: 'Let me declare my belief, that to ascertain when this point is passed is beyond the power of man.' Just as we have no knowledge in strict reality of the present, but only of something just past, 'while yet we know & are thoroughly assured that there always is a present: exactly thus as I think we are certain that there is a point at which a man passes from the state of an alien to that of a dutiful child'. Despite this sense of 'assurance', individuals are unable to assess its quality. We are, Gladstone thought, more aware of the unfavourable than of the favourable characteristics of others, but, for ourselves, it is the opposite. Therefore, 'provided we retain


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inviolate our faith in Christ, and our full assurance of the efficacy of his blood' it is a lesser evil to doubt our having attained that state than to assume we have achieved it. 'Conversion' in this sense is therefore always ahead of the sinner; 'assurance' (Gladstone uses 'assurance' or 'assure' four times in the course of his paper) is the sense that this 'turning' is possible, not the sense that it has happened. Gladstone then turns to conversion in the more dramatic sense of a sudden and remembered conversion. This he regards as exceptional, occurring in the case, for example, of 'some great and notorious sinner' or of people 'perhaps of weak nerves' or of 'deep and sensitive feelings'. For such, conversion illuminates 'the soul so powerfully and so sensibly that the memory of it may remain ever after', and he approvingly quotes Paley's analogy of the memory of escape from a shipwreck.19 Despite Gladstone's periodic reflections on himself as a great sinner, he clearly saw himself falling into the first rather than the second of his categories of conversion. He left no record of a conversion-experience, and for the rest of his life his reflections on sin lacked a corresponding sense of assurance of grace already given. This is of psychological importance, for it provided the context for his awareness of the insufficiency of evangelicalism for him, and of his difference in the quality of his faith from the evangelicals he knew best — his mother and his sister Anne — and from those he met at Oxford, for whom conversion was definitely seen in the 'rescue-from-shipwreck' mode. All the memoranda of this period emphasise the distinctiveness of Gladstone's position in relation to what later became known as Recordite evangelicalism. Gladstone's views of course permitted the holding of a less stark position, but he clearly found this lacking in ecclesiological definition. Moderate evangelicalism did not satisfy him. If the individual soul did not normatively define itself through a sense of a rescue from shipwreck, then its development towards and perhaps across the 'border' depended on development within the context of constant religious experience within the church, and especially on the nourishment of Holy Communion. This view was developed in a stream of papers on theological topics written during the 1830s while he was a young Tory M.P. Papers on predestination, the Fall, justification by faith, peculiarities in religion, preparations for the sacrament, and other allied subjects, developed the central theme of 'on Conversion': the need to recognise that religious progress came from gradual self-improvement, best conducted within a strict context of self-control. This self-control Gladstone increasingly found most satisfactorily pursued within a developed ecclesiology. As he put it at the end of his life, evangelicalism had rescued Christianity from the 'wretched 19. See W. Paley, 'On the Doctrine of Conversion', Sermon VII in Sermons on Several Subjects (London, 1808), p. 129. Gladstone here follows Paley in regarding such experience as unusual. Paley's sermon was anti-evangelical in that it argued that, for those brought up in a religious household, a sense of sin would not be acute, nor would they undergo a perceptible conversion. Gladstone's memorandum shows the considerable influence of the archdeacon.

Gladstone, Evangelicalism and 'The Engagement'


impostures of Hoadlyism'; its desire 'was inestimable: but it was incomplete. The language of the Psalms had now once more become a reality insofar as it expressed the needs and longing of the individual soul: but there was no corresponding recognition of the Divine Kingdom of Mount Sion, of the great congregation, of the perpetual indestructible existence of the Church of God'.20 Gladstone's developing relationship to high churchmanship has been thoroughly traced. It had two dimensions: first, his attempt to define, and then to redefine, the relationship of the church to the state; second, his personal development. The latter has received less attention than the first. The purpose of the second part of this essay is to set in context this personal development. As a schoolboy and initially as an undergraduate, Gladstone had, as we have seen, lived a rather lonely religious life. His chief friendship at school — that with Arthur Hallam — had not had a religious basis. At Oxford, together with his initial experiences with the St Ebbe's set, Gladstone had developed friendships of a religious sort with a number of students each of whom was moving in the same direction as himself: particularly Walter Kerr Hamilton, Benjamin Harrison, Joseph Anstice and the Aclands (especially T.D. Acland). These friendships were life-long. It is noticeable that Gladstone's move towards high churchmanship took place in a wholly male context: high churchman was an intended description. It was a move independent of his family and of the women in the family whose religion had been so central to his evangelicalism (the deaths of his sister Anne and of his mother — the two chief evangelicals in the family — in 1829 and 1835 respectively clearly played some part in this development), and he showed no interest at all — indeed only alarm — in the parallel development of his sister Helen, whose journey ended in conversion to Rome in 1842. This all-male context was maintained in his days as a young bachelor in London from 1832 to 1839. As these young high churchmen made their way in London polite society, its dangers seemed obvious enough. Gladstone worried over the corrupting influence of balls, and his sharp sense of female beauty bothered him. Religious friendships with men were an antidote to these temptations. Gladstone, as his memorandum of 1830 had shown, lacked the assurance that he was of the sheep rather than of the goats. Given that his Tractarian-minded friends were, in a variety of ways, working to promote the good of the church, and given that they saw that good as, at that time, best aided by the conservative party, it was natural enough for an organisation of their activities to be attempted. This was discussed at a number of points in the 1830s. Gladstone's contribution was to write an elaborate plan in 1838 for a 'third order'. This was to 'aim at a greater yet a safer less presuming and less egotistical separation from the world than can easily be attained where the ground of separation is in any notion adopted by 20. Memorandum on 'Evangelicalism' dated 15 January 1894, B.L., MS Add. 44776, fol. 34.


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merely individual judgment'.21 It was to have two branches, one in the country 'where boarders might be educated', the other in 'one of our large towns'. The members of the order, who would be both clerical and lay, would enter into 'solemn engagement' to obey its statutes, and this 'engagement' would be renewed each year for five years and then for life. They were to educate three classes of society, the children of the poor, of the 'lower middling classes', and of 'classes higher than these, as boarders'. Gladstone listed forty-nine rules for the members. Initially, nothing came of this. Gladstone married in 1839, and his sexual temptations apparently ended. In fact, however, experience of sex rather than its contemplation greatly increased Gladstone's sexuality. He underwent far greater sexual temptation during marriage than before it. Like a number of his male religious friends, he began to attend, regularly from April 1841, the Margaret Chapel, later All Saints', Margaret Street, in London. It is notable that he almost always attended it without his wife, whereas it was their custom together to attend St Martin in the Fields, their parish church, or sometimes St James's, Piccadilly. The Margaret Chapel, especially during the ministry of William Dodsworth, its clergyman when Gladstone first visited it with Anstice on 6 April 1834, was an important staging post for evangelicals making their way into the high-church world and thus, in Gladstone's view, into main-stream influence on the Church of England. It was one of his central contentions that evangelicalism by itself had always been weak and marginal: 'I wish to notice the fact, which I take to be unquestionable, that since the date of the Tracts — since and not before it — the juice and sap of the evangelical teaching has in a very remarkable manner coursed through "the natural gates and alleys of the body" of the English Church.'22 Gladstone commented in 1893 to the chapel's historian: There is one noteworthy point I do not recollect to have found in the volume: that is to say the close connection of the Chapel with the Evangelical party in the Church . . . [Anstice] took me there when Mr Dodsworth was the clergyman, and I remember hearing him preach a most able sermon to show that the total corruption of human nature was capable of an orthodox sense.23

But this evangelical base provided a support for the prime interest in the attenders of the Margaret Chapel, the 'catholicity' of the Church of England and the means of organising it. In 1842, Gladstone hoped to unfold 'the Catholic system within her [the Church of England] in some establishment or machinery looking both towards the higher life, and towards the external warfare against ignorance and depravity'.24 In 1843, after Gladstone had entered Peel's Cabinet as President 21. Paper written on 9 March 1838, printed in D.C. Lathbury, ii, p. 433. 22. Gladstone, 'The Evangelical Movement', p. 221. 23. Gladstone to W.H. Whitworth, 3 September 1893, B.L., MS Add. 44517, fol. 232. Dodsworth became a Roman Catholic in 1851. 24. D, 27 Mar. 1842.

Gladstone, Evangelicalism and 'The Engagement'


of the Board of Trade, he often discussed 'Church matters' with his friend James Hope (later Hope-Scott), who 'has in view a scheme for an institution for charity & self denial wh[ich] may God mature & prosper'.25 At the same time, he developed plans with Hope for the formation of Trinity College, Glenalmond, the episcopalian boarding school in Scotland, which fulfilled the 'boarding school' part of the plan for the 'Third Order', as well as attempting to anglicanise the Scottish middle classes.26 Discussions progressed in 1844 with respect to a plan by Lord John Manners (Gladstone's fellow Tory M.P. for Newark and a member of the 'Young England' group) for an institution for 'religious retirement and practical good-doing'27 and the matter was taken further by involving C.J. Blomfield, bishop of London, with whom Gladstone was already collaborating in the Metropolitan Visiting Association, for which he drafted the constitution.28 These various plans eventually came to fruition in two different forms: first, the establishment of Houses of Mercy in Soho and Clewer,29 second in 'the Engagement'.30 In the autumn of 1844 discussions were held, stimulated it would seem chiefly by T.D. Acland and his cousin A.H.D. Acland, for an 'engagement of discipline'.31 These discussions occurred just as Gladstone was resigning from Peel's cabinet on the Maynooth Grant and the endowment of the Maynooth College, and this may account for his lack of prominence in the initial stages. Once the rather complex business of his political resignation and its various explanations were completed, Gladstone 'worked on the contemplated application] of the Engagement to myself'.32 He joined the secret lay group in February 1845. Its twelve rules were established after consultation with John Keble (it is interesting that the group should have turned to Keble rather than to Pusey for advice, for Pusey was better known, if more extreme, on such matters).33 The rules, which were quite similar to the spiritual rules in Gladstone's 'Third Order' paper of 1838, were:34 1 Some regular work of charity. 2 Attendance at the daily service. 25. D, 6 Nov. 1843 26. Matthew, Gladstone, pp. 61, 97. 27. D, 7 Feb. 1844 28. D, 2 Dec. 1843. 29. Gladstone records discussing Houses of Mercy in January 1844; that in Soho was founded in 1845, that in Clewer in the early 1850s; D, 8 Jan. 1845, 14 Feb. 1845. 30. For the Engagement, see John E. Acland, A Layman's Life in the Days of the Tractarian Movement: In Memoriam Arthur [Acland] Troyte (London, 1904), pp. 171 ff, Butler, Gladstone, Church, State and Tractarianism, pp. 161-63 and Matthew, Gladstone, pp. 22, 47, 90-97. 31. D, 24 Nov. 1844. 32. D, 23 Feb. 1845. 33. See D, 23 Feb. 1845, note. J.T. Coleridge wrote to Keble, 26 September 1844, Oxford, Keble College, Keble MSS, 'a word about Acland's scheme — it is one that interests me much'. 34. D, 23 Feb. 1845, note.


Revival and Religion since 1700 3 Observance of the fasts of the church. 4 Observance of the hours of prayer. 5 Special prayers for the unity of the Church and conversion of unbelievers at some hour: also for the persons engaged. 6 Rule of number of hours to be spent in sleep and recreation. 7 Meditation with morning prayers — self-examination with evening. 8 To fix a portion of income for works of mercy and piety. 9 To consider with a practical view the direction of the church concerning confession and absolution. 10 Failing any spiritual director, to follow the judgement of one or more of those co-engaged in the case of breach of rule. 11 If unable to perform (1) contribute funds instead. 12 To meet, compare results, and consider amendments.

These rules were supplemented for Gladstone personally by a further set of admonitions drawn up in October 1845 as 'remedies' for sexual temptation.35 The Engagement thus brought together a number of Gladstonian concerns: the need to pursue regular religious exercises in the context of an absence of assurance; a desire to create in post-Oxonian days the religious intensity which he had sought but not altogether found at Oxford; and the wish to do so in a context of high-church ecclesiology. It fulfilled the spiritual objectives which he had laid down in 1838 for his 'Third Order' but had very little of the elaborate institutional structure he had then suggested, for 'the Engagement' between the members was to meet annually on St Barnabas's day. It would seem that its membership was formed during Gladstone's preoccupation with the Maynooth grant and his impending resignation, and that he was not involved in detail with its selection. The Engagement is of interest for two reasons: its significance in the individual religious lives of its members; and prosopographically. From Gladstone's own point of view, it was a challenge long anticipated but only partially met. Even while joining, he noted down his inability to meet the conditions of several of the rules. To take two examples: against Rule 1 ('some regular work of charity') he noted:36 'while in office I felt this impossible. I 35. D, 26 Oct. 1845. 36. Notes in Lambeth Palace Library, MS Lambeth 2758.

Gladstone, Evangelicalism and 'The Engagement'


fear that even now [February 1845] it will be scarcely within my reach during the Session of Parliament . . .' Against Rule 3 ('Observance of the fasts of the Church') he noted: the sense of bodily exhaustion is frequent within me, & a tendency to cold extremities. I have been medically advised to keep up my strength by nutritious diet. So therefore it appears to me that restraints upon the palate, & the withdrawal of some things agreeable to it, give the proper direction in which I ought to work upon this rule.

Other rules could be more fully obeyed. For example, on Rule 7 ('Meditation with Morning Prayer — Self-examination with evening') he observed: Late hours [in the Commons] will hardly allow me the former. For the latter I propose to ask myself on the seven deadly sins & their accessories with them: Also whether there has been any act of self denial during the day. Also whether 6 [rule on hours to 'be spent in sleep & recreation'] has been observed: & this is to be recorded in my Journal (hours of sleep and recreation). Also whether thoughts of God & of the Redeemer & Divine things have occurred during the day: & how often.

The Engagement was thus in part an agreement to act similarly while apart. Gladstone took its demands seriously. Each day, he recorded the hours spent in sleep and recreation in his journal,37 later reversing his record to note hours spent in prayer and work.38 He increased his habit of prayer, and he noted on Rule 2 ('attendance at the daily service'): 'I add to this part of the engagement, the weekly communion. This rule I can observe without serious impediment in London: elsewhere not.'39 'Elsewhere' was chiefly the family house at Fasque in Kincardineshire, where there was no episcopalian church. Gladstone solved this problem by increasing his existing encouragement to his father to build an episcopalian chapel on the estate; this was done later in 1846, and an episcopalian priest appointed.40 At an important and distressing moment in his public career, the Engagement proved a valuable private anchor. It gave him a private, guided context for the working out of his public, political and church-and-state reorientation.41 It was also the context, through Rule 1 — the regular work of charity — for the intensification of his 'rescue' work with prostitutes, a subject dealt with elsewhere.42 The Engagement encouraged Gladstone; it did not change his direction. An important intention was that it should involve accountability to the other 37. D, 24 Feb. 1845. 38. D, 23 Aug. 1845. 39. London, Lambeth Palace Library, MS Lambeth 2758. 40. The chapel was consecrated, after various delays, on 28 August 1847. 41. See Matthew, Gladstone, chap. 3. 42. Ibid., chap. 4.


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members for obedience to the rules. Rules 9, 10 and 12 required discussion with at least one other person, and Rule 12 implied a meeting of the group as a whole. Gladstone seems to have been initially cautious about encouraging the full implications of these rules, which could have led to the Engagement becoming much more of the 'Third Order' whose constitution he had sketched in 1838. Discussion with Keble in 1845 led to the suggestion from the latter that there was need for 'either a regular Spir[itua]l Guide, or a lay brother, as suggested in No. 10 of the original paper'.43 This sort of rather tight relationship was never achieved. Keble's term of a 'quasi combination' is a good description of how the members interrelated.44 There were implications of group-confessions, but these do not seem in fact to have been made. The Engagement met annually at the Margaret Chapel on St Barnabas' Day, 11 June, and Gladstone attended these meetings (though in 1847 his journal records being at the chapel '8-10 [a.m]', but does not explicitly mention the Engagement). Unfortunately he left no detailed account of the proceedings. Gladstone appears, however, to have become dissatisfied with the working of the 'quasi combination', and to have made suggestions for improving it, developing suggestions put forward by the Aclands. His proposal, had it been followed, would have amounted to his 'Third Order' (without the clerical element). On 10 June 1849 (i.e. the day before the annual gathering), he wrote to T.D. Acland an important review of the position, worth quoting at length:45 It appears to me that there is a radical defect in the present organisation, which paralyses and to a great degree must & ought to paralyse its actions: namely this[,] that persons who have a very slight knowledge or even no knowledge whatever of one another are associated together in an union purely private, depending on individual will, of limited extent (so that the particular person is not at all lost in the body) and at the same time having reference not only to the highest subject matter, but to its inward application to the conscience. There may be reciprocal duties contemplated by this Union which do not presuppose personal knowledge of the parties inter se: but for the most part this is otherwise. The mutual supervision of conduct, and giving and receiving reports upon it, unless it be done upon some recognised and official ground, seems absolutely to require such knowledge . . . I wrote to you in the winter suggesting that the organisation should be in sections — that all personal relations established should be among the members of each section exclusively — that they should each be represented by some one person kind enough to undertake the business of each, & that, among themselves, the members of the sections, thus sustained & emboldened by intimacy, might exercise at least some degree of supervision over one another's conduct. 43. T.D. Acland to Gladstone, 20 July 1849, London, Lambeth Palace Library, MS Lambeth 2758. 44. A.H.D. Acland to Gladstone, 23 March 1846, ibid, and Acland, A Layman's Life, p. 174. 45. Gladstone to T.D. Acland, 10 June 1849, Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. d. 89, fol. 25.

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Nothing seems to have come of this bold plan. Gladstone evidently hoped the 'Brotherhood' would act as a context within which his own religious and sexual tensions — by the late 1840s both considerable — could be resolved.46 His work with 'rescue' cases, involving a high level of sexual temptation, was by that time needing 'at least some degree of supervision' if it was not, as at times in the early 1850s it very nearly did, to deteriorate into depravity.47 It is not quite clear from the Gladstone-Acland correspondence whether the hope in 1849 was for a more institutionalised version of the existing Engagement, or a quite new organisation. Acland later docketed Gladstone's letter: CWEG 1849 as to constitution of proposed Union or Brotherhood'.48 A development of the Engagement would seem to have been the natural course, and it may be that nothing came of the idea because of the uncertain religious positions of a number of the Engagement's members, in the aftermath of Newman's conversion and, more particularly, in the context of the questions raised by the Gorham Case. Who, then, were those who gathered annually in the Margaret Chapel like a band of ecclesiastical knights at their round table? The members of the Engagement had Oxonian high-church Anglicanism (and a tendency to political liberalism) as their binding force. Mostly up at Oxford University in the late 1820s, they reflected, at first glance improbably, that move within part of the conservative political establishment towards what eventually became high-church liberalism of the Gladstonian sort. At first glance, they had an affinity to the Young England circle, and a direct link in the sense that Lord John Manners was Gladstone's colleague as M.P. for Newark and worked with him in founding Houses of Mercy in Soho and Clewer. Yet their members were associated with the profound Peelite shock about to be administered to the Tory Party, rather than, as was the case with the Young Englanders, being engaged in emotional revolt against Peelism. Three of the members of the Engagement were Peelite M.P.s (Gladstone, T.D. Acland and Roundell Palmer) and one (William Monsell) a moderate Liberal M.P. Three were barristers (Thomas Haddan, Roundell Palmer, J.T. Coleridge); Gladstone had dined frequently at Lincoln's Inn in the 1830s. One (Frederick Rogers) was then registrar of joint-stock companies. These constituted an important political core — coming men in the world of affairs — and one which went on to eminence. Gladstone, Palmer and Monsell were all in the Liberal government of 1868-74 (Palmer as Lord Chancellor after 1872). Acland was a steadfast Gladstonian, later describing himself in Dod's Parliamentary Companion as 'a hearty supporter of Gladstone'. Gladstone made Monsell Under-Secretary for the Colonies in his 1868 government; Monsell was thus working with Rogers who was by then the influential, liberally46. See Matthew, Gladstone., chap. 4. 47. Ibid. 48. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. d. 89, fol. 25. The docket was apparently added later.


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minded, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Colonial Office. John T. Coleridge (older than the others, having been born in 1790) was briefly editor of the Quarterly Review in 1834, but by the 1840s was one of the main organisers of Gladstone's Peelite election committee in the Oxford University seat; his son, John D. Coleridge, was Solicitor- and Attorney-General in the 1868 government. All of these had been undergraduates at Oxford. Given the absence of detailed Gladstonian involvement in the selection of the membership, the embryonic and continuing liberalism of the group was remarkable. The active high-churchmanship of the Engagement was further reflected by the fact that Thomas Haddan founded and was first editor of the Guardian, the liberal Tractarian newspaper, and John T. Coleridge wrote the standard life of John Keble. Roundell Palmer was the brother of William Palmer of Magdalen, the theologian of Tractarian leaning with an especial interest in the orthodox churches. Other members of the Engagement were bound to it by a variety of ties. Lord Adare was William Monsell's relative by marriage and was, like him, from a prominent Irish family. He was a Conservative M.P. but sat as a Liberal when he entered the Lords in 1851.49 A.H.D. Acland (later Arthur Troyte) was T.D. Acland's cousin and a man of fervent Tractarianism who devoted most of his time to religious causes. Robert Brett was a surgeon and well-known Tractarian, who partly paid for the rebuilding of St Augustine's, Canterbury, as a college.50 He seems to have become connected with the others through his reputation (A.H.D. Acland described him to Gladstone on his joining the Engagement as 'a medical man near London of great Piety & Charity — & I think by his initials R.B. he aids children')51 rather than by the earlier links of education, family or public life which joined most of the others. Three other members of the Engagement were less conspicuous. Matthew John Rhodes was apparently, like the Aclands, a Westcountryman; he was laysecretary of the Bristol branch of the English Church Union. His reason for involvement with the Engagement is not clear. Thomas Moorsom was a captain in the Guards and there seems to be available no significant further information about him. The details of the identity of Robert Campbell are uncertain. He may be the Robert Campbell of Sherrington who was an advocate in Edinburgh, by origin a Presbyterian, an active member (like Gladstone when in Scotland) of the Scottish Episcopal Church and 'an extreme rationalist' who in 1850 completed a manual of hymns, 'Hymns and Anthems for Use in the Holy Service of the Church'.52 Such compilations of hymns or prayers, often privately printed, were common among the members of the Engagement. Gladstone compiled 49. See G.E. Cockayne, The Complete Peerage (London, 1916), 4, p. 549. 50. See his D.N.B. entry. 51. A.H.D. Acland to Gladstone, 23 March 1846, MS Lambeth 2758. 52. See his entry in E.F. Hatfield, The Poets of the Church (London, 1884).

Gladstone, Evangelicalism and 'The Engagement'


a psalmody and prayer book for use in family prayers in the late 1840s. Like Adare, Monsell and Rhodes, Campbell became a Roman Catholic, probably just after 1850.53 William Butterfield, the architect, was in some respects a slightly surprising member. He had none of the Oxonian or familial links which bound many of the others, and the profession of architect was at that time not of high status. Moreover Butterfield was just at the start of his career. The context of his involvement was probably the rebuilding of St Augustine's, Canterbury, to which as we have seen Robert Brett was a major contributor.54 Butterfield was appointed architect of the restoration by A.J. Beresford Hope (not himself a member but quite a close friend of Gladstone) just as the Engagement was being planned in 1844. Butterfield was the architect for the transformation of the Margaret Chapel into All Saints', Margaret Street, a change planned from 1842 by Gladstone and James Hope. The latter was, perhaps surprisingly, not a member: his movement towards Rome, already pronounced in 1845, may have prevented this, just as the conversion to Rome of Frederic Oakeley, the priest in charge of the Margaret Chapel after Dodsworth, delayed for a time its rebuilding. Butterfield gained another direct advantage from the Engagement, for he was the architect for the restoration of John T. Coleridge's church at Ottery St Mary. Oakeley's apostasy in 1845 removed the Engagement's most likely spiritual director, and nobody else was found to act as such directly, though John Keble continued to give advice from Hursley. Lord Adare followed Oakeley into the Roman Catholic Church, probably in 1850 at the time of the Gorham judgement.55 His relative William Monsell definitely converted at that time. Soon after, perhaps in 1852, they were followed by Matthew Rhodes, who was received by Manning, and who subsequently became quite a prominent layCatholic author and a strong defendant of the temporal power of the pope.56 At about the same time, Robert Campbell — if he was the Robert Campbell identified above — also joined the Roman Catholic church.57 The Gorham Case was thus the context in which attempts to give the Engagement stronger institutional cohesion foundered. With four members out of twelve about to convert to Rome, disengagement made a stronger 'Union' impossible, at any rate among that body. There is some evidence that it limped on until 1852 and then dissolved itself.58 Gladstone seems to have had no connection with it after 1850. 53. No date for his conversion is given in W. Gordon Gorman, Converts to Rome (London, 1910 edn.), p. 48. 54. For Butterfield and his commissions, see Paul Thompson, William Butterfield (London, 1971), chap. 4. Butterfield's connection with 'the Engagement' is not mentioned in this book. 55. Gorman, following G.E.C., dates this as 1855, but Dunraven's D.N.B. entry suggests his conversion was rather earlier. 56. See his His Holiness Pope Pins IX and the Temporal Rights of the Holy See (London, 1859). 57. See Robert Campbell, Past and Present Treatment of Roman Catholic Children in Scotland (Glasgow, 1863), whose text implies conversion to Rome in the early 1850s. 58. See Acland, A Layman's Life, p. 176.


Revival and Religion since 1700

The Engagement thus failed, and certainly Gladstone's hope that the members of a 'Third Order' might after five years become permanent brothers was never achieved. Nonetheless it was an interesting and important initiative. At the core of the Engagement was a group of public men who were an epitome of a generation central to the political development of mid Victorian Britain. Of course, this is not to argue that the Engagement was a decisive agent in the change from conservative to liberal church-state principles, but it was at the least a symptom of that change. And, in the mental stability of William Ewart Gladstone, its most explosive member, it played a significant if limited role. Gladstone's wandering soul, 'restless as the sea',59 had not found in the language, practice or experience of evangelicalism an assuring faith. If conversion was to be a life-long process, if the Scottish/English border seemed always beyond reach, a man of Gladstone's powerful urges needed a framework of control: his soul sought a resting place, a harbour of repose, in the rapid flood-tide of 1840s conservative and church-state relations. His mind sought rules to live by — 'it is by rule rather than reasoning at the moment that we are to hold' — in this period of intense pressure.60 These the Engagement provided. It was not a permanent harbour, but it was at least a sheltered cove. Its blend of the intensely personal with a marked political context was dissatisfying chiefly, as we have seen, because it offered too little rather than too much of an institutional structure. The Engagement fell apart, but Gladstone survived, just, the testing years during which he turned to it.

59. D, 23 Nov. 1844; the remark refers to political life in the build-up to the cabinet's decision on the Maynooth Grant. The next day, Gladstone wrote to T.D. Acland about joining the Engagement. 60. A 15 Jan. 1847.

8 Religious Revival and Political Renewal in Antebellum America Richard Carwardine

During the early decades of the nineteenth century the young American republic underwent a dramatic transformation. National boundaries expanded. The population burgeoned and spread. Steamboats, turnpike roads, canals and (eventually) railroads altered economic aspirations and relationships, and community horizons. Americans and their European visitors observed the emergence of a modern market economy and the beginnings of an industrial order. They saw a republican, egalitarian code of manners eroding eighteenth-century patterns of deference and patronage. No changes were more portentous than the development of uniquely American forms of religion and of politics. Evangelical Protestant churches, defensive through the Revolutionary era and its immediate aftermath, sufficiently recovered their confidence during the so-called 'Second Great Awakening' to establish themselves as the republic's primary religious force. Lacking formal state support in fashioning a Christian society, evangelicals turned with formidable vigour to church-building and soul-saving, reshaping their theology and methods in the process. Charles Grandison Finney and other 'new measure' revivalists challenged traditional Calvinist doctrines of election and moral inability, emphasising instead sinners' free will and ability actively to seek their own salvation. Methodist revivalists, preaching a democratic Arminianism, the most potent doctrinal force of the Awakening, proffered an even more emphatic theology of human equality and opportunity, and helped make Methodism the largest denominational family in the country by 1830. Surging evangelicalism can be seen as an early nineteenth-century counter-culture through which ordinary farmers, artisans, labourers and their families expressed their independence of the world of the gentry and the well-to-do commercial and professional classes, though by the later years of the Awakening it had so successfully challenged the established culture that it was no longer a movement of the fringes, and had itself become influential, respectable and middle-class. By mid century evangelical, revivalist Protestantism was the principal sub-culture in American society.1 1. On the Second Great Awakening, see especially: W.G. McLoughlin, Modem Revivalism: Charles Grandison Finney to Billy Graham (New York, 1959), pp. 3-121; N.O. Hatch, The Democratization of American Christianity (New Haven, 1989); R.J. Carwardine, Transatlantic continued



Revival and Religion since 1700

The political world experienced similar democratic thrusts. The widespread introduction of adult white manhood suffrage, accompanied by a shift towards popular elections and away from the practice of state legislatures nominating presidential electors, encouraged incessant campaigning. A new breed of professional politicians, who recognised the passing of the eighteenth-century politics of deference, actively courted the new mass electorate through dramatic techniques of electioneering. They championed a more positive view of political parties, accepting them as essential and moral elements of the political order. Between 1824 and 1840 a recognisably modern 'second party system' grew to fruition, shaped and defined principally by the quadrennial contests for the presidency. By the time of the 'Log Cabin' campaign of 1840 two evenly balanced, elaborately organised parties, Democrats and Whigs, competed in almost every state of the Union; nearly 2,500,000 voters, or four out of five of those eligible, turned out to vote. Some aspects of the new system suggested political control as much as democratic liberation: managers aimed to use the party delegate conventions, for instance, less to open up decision-making to the rank and file than to exert party discipline. But in the main the new system has to be seen as a response to grass-roots pressure for change.2 Political leaders faced popular demands for action over a wide range of economic and moral questions that included debtor relief, banking, government-sponsored improvements in communications, and the defence of a Christian republic against Masons, sabbath breakers and other secularising influences. A drive towards individual empowerment, liberation and responsibility is as evident in politics as in the life of the Protestant churches. Revivalist religion and mass politics enjoyed a rich and textured relationship. The modern historian may identify some congruence between developments in the two worlds, but the rhetoric and more private reflections of contemporary continued Revivalism: Popular Evangelicalism in Britain and America, 1790-1865 (Westport, CT, 1978), pp. 3-56; D.G. Mathews, Religion in the Old South (Chicago, 1977); G.S. Wood, 'Evangelical America and Early Mormonism', New York History, 61 (October 1980), pp. 359-86. For case studies that contextualise evangelical religion within the new social and economic order see W.R. Cross, The Burned-Over District: The Social and Intellectual History of Enthusiastic Religion in Western New York, 1800-1850 (Ithaca, NY, 1950); P. Johnson, A Shopkeeper's Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815-1837 (New York, 1978); L. Foster, Religion and Sexuality: Three American Communal Experiments of the Nineteenth Century (New York, 1981); M. Ryan, Cradle of the Middle Class: The Family in Oneida County, New York, 1790-1865 (Cambridge, 1981); R.A. Roth, The Democratic Dilemma: Religion, Reform, and the Social Order in the Connecticut River Valley of Vermont, 1791-1850 (Cambridge, 1987). 2. For the origins and characteristic features of the second party system, see especially R.P. McCormick, The Second American Party System: Party Formation in the Jacksonian Era (Chapel Hill, 1966); M.J. Heale, The Making of American Politics, 1750-1850 (London, 1977), pp. 116-62; R. Ketcham, Presidents Above Party: The First American Presidency, 1789-1829 (Chapel Hill, 1984); and M. Wallace, 'Changing Concepts of Party in the United States: New York 1815-1828', American Historical Review, 74 (December 1968), pp. 453-91; W.N. Chambers and P.C. Davis, 'Party Competition and a Mass Participation: The Case of the Democratizing Party System, 1824-1852', in J.H. Silbey, A. Bogue and W.H. Flanagan, ed., The History of American Electoral Behavior (Princeton, NJ, 1978), pp. 174-97.

Religious Revival and Political Renewal in Antebellum America


evangelical Christians on the new political arrangements point to acute tension between them. Not least, the arena of politics was overwhelmingly masculine: men alone could vote, while women's role in public life was largely decorative and emblematic.3 Conversely, church membership was disproportionately female, and many (though by no means all) of the harshest evangelical critics of 'ungodly' politics were pious women. Yet, ironically, evangelical culture did much to shape the style and substance of America's new mass politics.4 The young nation's revivalists were midwives at the birth of a modern electoral order. Evangelical Protestants accused the new politicians of threatening the republic's spiritual wellbeing. They vehemently criticised the fierce partisanship of the Jacksonian era. Party spirit and discipline, they insisted, prevented thoughtful attention to the promptings of individual conscience. Political parties were socially divisive: they destroyed the sense of community and harmony on which the republic's advance to the Christian millennium depended.5 The new system had inaugurated a decline in moral standards amongst spoilsseeking politicians chosen for their 'availability' and party loyalty, not their personal qualities, integrity or public spirit. Secular values and godlessness, they maintained, had never been so evident in American public life.6 3. That some women did, however, have a public role and exercise political influence is the burden of M.P. Ryan, Women in Public: Between Banners and Ballots, 1825-1880 (Baltimore, 1990), pp. 132-41, and L.D. Ginzberg, Women and the Work of Benevolence: Morality, Politics, and Class in the Nineteenth-Century United States (New Haven, 1990), pp. 71-79. 4. W.R. Brock, Parties and Political Conscience: American Dilemmas, 1840-1850 (New York, 1979), pp. 35-52, considers the elements of rationalism, romanticism and revivalism that made up the intellectual framework in which the second party system developed. D.W. Howe, 'The Evangelical Movement and Political Culture in the North during the Second Party System', Journal of American History, 77 (1991), pp. 1216—39, persuasively suggests how political divergence reflected two broad religio-economic alliances in American society and two conflicting ways of responding to modernization. R.L. Moore, 'The End of Religious Establishment and the Beginning of Religious Politics: Church and State in the United States', in T. Kselman, ed., Belief in History: Innovative Approaches to European and American Religion (Notre Dame, 1991), pp. 237-64, offers some valuable reflections, with which I very much agree, on the reciprocity of politics and revivalist religion in this era, and on the important role of evangelical religion in the formation of the country's political system; one area which he does not consider is the manichean content and structure of revivalist discourse, which, as I suggest below, had considerable implications for mass adversarial politics. See also J.L. Kincheloe, Jr, 'Similarities in Crowd Control Techniques of the Camp Meeting and Political Rally: The Pioneer Role of Tennessee', Tennessee Historical Quarterly, 37 (1978), pp. 155-69. 5. See, for example, D.H. Riddle, 'The Morning Cometh'; or, the Watchman's Voice: A Discourse . . . (Pittsburgh, 1841), p. 23; L. Bacon, The Duties Connected with the Present Commercial Distress: A Sermon . . . (New Haven, 1837), pp. 12-14; C.C. Cuyler, The Signs of the Times: A Series of Discourses . . . (Philadelphia, 1839), p. 261; W. Ramsey, A Sermon Occasioned by the Death of William Henry Harrison . . . (Philadelphia, 1841), p. 14. 6. See, for example, E.A. Lawrence, A Discourse on the Death o f . . . Daniel Webster. . . (Boston, MA, 1852), p. 14; S. McKeen, God Our Only Hope: A Discourse . . . (Belfast, ME, 1837), pp. 20-22; E. Stearns, 'Christian Polities', Quarterly Christian Spectator, 10 (1838), p. 437; Western Christian Advocate (Methodist; Cincinnati), 30 July, 17 December 1841; C. Fletcher, The Diary of Calvin Fletcher, ed. G. Thornbrough, D.L. Riker, and P. Corpuz (6 vols, Indianapolis, 1972-77), 3, p. 80; Oberlin Evangelist, 13 October 1852; A. Brunson, A Western continued


Revival and Religion since 1700

Evangelicals reserved their strongest language to denounce the 'volcanic and subterranean thunderings' and 'reckless agitation' of election campaigns. Demagogues and conniving newspaper editors engaged in 'falsehood, slanders, bribes' and the 'scalping and roasting alive' of opponents; resorted to forgery and other forms of trickery; and aroused 'low passions' and 'wild, blind reckless partisanship' in the 'fickle multitude'. In consequence men sank their reason, intelligence and individual judgement — the very essence of both Protestantism and democratic republicanism — in servility to a party's success at the polls.7 No-holds-barred electioneering threatened to destroy 'the morals and the conscience of the community'. The hickory poles, log cabins, cider barrels and other partisan symbols were a frivolous expense of time and money, 'a reckless waste in useless trappings . . . of that which might have supplied many perishing heathen with the bread of life', a mockery of serious republicanism. 'Our city is all alive for some time with polities', the itinerating Thomas Eddy wrote to his wife-to-be from Madison, Indiana, during the Clay-Polk campaign. 'Polls (sic) — coons — polkstalks — cabins &c are all the go. Well all the fools are not dead yet.' More serious was the profanity and blasphemy that laced political dispute, and the inducements to gambling. 'The country has been most extensively demoralized' by the wagering of hundreds of thousands of dollars on election results, complained a writer in The Presbyterian. Consumption of tobacco and alcohol reached distressing levels.8 In Illinois and other western states, mid century election meetings, like house-raising, log-rollings, harvests, horse races and weddings, were occasions of general merry-making, where much whiskey was consumed. Alcoholic drink continued to claim a salient place in southern culture, too, despite the efforts of reformers. The Rev. William S. White recalled arriving to take up his pastorate in Lexington, Virginia, a strong Scotch-Irish settlement, just in time to witness the election that raised Zachary Taylor to the presidency. 'On that day the streets of the town were filled with drinking men, and about twelve o'clock the fighting began. Never before, and never since, have we seen so continued Pioneer: or Incidents of the Life and Times of Rev. Alfred Brunson . . . (2 vols, Cincinnati, 1880), 2, pp. 140-42; H. Bushnell, 'American Polities', American National Preacher, 14 (December, 1840), p. 201; J. Blanchard, A Perfect State of Society . . . (Oberlin, OH, 1839), p. 12. 7. J.M. Krebs, Righteousness the Foundation of National Prosperity: A Sermon . . . (New York, 1835), p. 21; E.N. Kirk, An Oration on the Occasion of the National Fast. . . (New York, 1841), p. 25; J. Codman, The Importance of Moderation in Civil Rulers: A Sermon . . . (Boston, 1840), p. 14; Oberlin Evangelist, 9 October, 20 November 1844; Christian Advocate and Journal (Methodist; New York City), 23 October 1856; H. Bushnell, Politics Under the Law of God: A Discourse . . . (Hartford, CT, 1844), pp. 11-12; H.A. Boardman, Moral Courage: A Sermon . . . (Philadelphia, 1856), pp. 22-23. 8. M. Riggs to her brothers, 20 January 1841, Riggs Papers, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia; C. White, A Sermon . . . May 14, 1841, the Day of the National Fast . . . (Owego, NY, 1841), p. 37; Western Christian Advocate, 25 December 1840, 2 August 1848; T.M. Eddy to A. White, 2 August 1844, T.M. Eddy Papers, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston; R. Emory to C. Emory, 13 November 1844, Emory Papers, Methodist Center, Drew University.

Religious Revival and Political Renewal in Antebellum America


many personal combats take place in so short a time and in so small a place', some of them between old, grey-haired men. Why, asked a South Carolina Methodist in 1856, did 'the sun-dial of religion, not to say civilization' retreat more in one month before an election than it advanced in the six months afterwards? 'Is it not the practice of treating, and the vitiating influence that follows upon the artificial heat . . . gotten up during the canvass?' Even in the north east, where total abstinence made its greatest advances, evangelicals lamented the corrosive effects of political campaigning on civic sobriety. The New York State Temperance Society reported shortly after James Buchanan's election in 1856 'that the excitement attending the election had led many back into intemperance'. Many regarded a general election as a national calamity no less dangerous than war in its effect on community morals.9 Particularly upsetting was the apparent effect of election campaigns on the religious sensibilities of evangelicals themselves. According to The Presbyterian, they led Christians to neglect 'the most sacred duties of their calling'. Elections destroyed the individual Christian's inner peace, his 'calm and peaceful assurance of Divine favor', by encouraging 'a wrong spirit'. Charles Elliott, nervously viewing the 1852 presidential contest, took it as axiomatic 'that vital piety declines in the Churches very nearly in proportion to the increase of political excitement'; his fellow Methodist editor Abel Stevens declared after Abraham Lincoln's election in 1860 that all preachers agreed 'that political clubs are no help to prayer-meetings, that torchlight processions do not make men grow in grace, and that presidential campaigns are no direct help to the general progress of God's church'. Politics diverted time and energy from religious activity. 'The mind will have one object prominently before it. Its unity forbids more than one.' Evangelicals sucked into the maelstrom of the canvass developed irregular habits, neglected their home, including family prayer, and raised more money 'for political fandangoes than for all the charitable purposes put together by three to one'. Professed Christians would stand in the rain in their hundreds to hear a political speech, yet it was 'hard work to get fifty men to a Wednesday night prayer meeting, where there is a full moon and good walking'. An Indiana Methodist complained bitterly about such distorted priorities: 'we have a good many souls who are horror stricken almost if some good sister or brother gets happy in the class-room and shouts a little, who can almost split their throats hurraing for Fremont or Buchanan'.10 9. W.S. White, Rev. William S. White, D.D. and his Times (1800-1873): An Autobiography, ed. H.M. White (Richmond, VA, 1891), pp. 159-60; J. Marsh, Temperance Recollections: Labors, Defeats, Triumphs: An Autobiography (New York, 1866), p. 298; Southern Christian Advocate (Methodist; Charleston, SC), 23 October 1856; Pittsburgh Christian Advocate (Methodist), 20 November 1844; Biblical Recorder (Baptist; Raleigh, NC), 16 November 1844; S.C. Baldridge, Sketches of the Life and Times of the Rev. Stephen Bliss, A.M. (Cincinnati, 1870), p. 49. 10. Presbyterian, quoted in Biblical Recorder, 16 November 1844; Western Christian Advocate, 21 August 1840, 28 July 1852, 6, 20 August, 17 September, 8 October 1856; Christian Advocate and Journal, 20 December 1860; Northwestern Christian Advocate (Methodist; Chicago), 12 November 1856; W. Wisner, Incidents in the Life of a Pastor continued


Revival and Religion since 1700

Even ministers' piety might suffer. James Welch, an itinerant agent of the American Sunday School Union working in upstate New York during the Log-Cabin campaign of 1840, privately confided: For several months past I have not enjoyed the sweet intercourse of soul with my Saviour that I ought . . . This I believe to be owing very much to my wandering manner of life . . . and also to the fact, that I have allowed myself to feel too much interest in the political excitement which has surrounded me ever [sic] where I go for the last twelve months past.

The North Carolina Christian Advocate complained that when protracted and camp meetings were held immediately before an exciting election, ministers could and did do much harm by spending 'the intervals of public service "talking politics" with the leading members and GREAT sinners'.11 The social divisiveness and political bitterness that tore apart the wider community did not stop at the meeting-house door, but snaked their way into 'the peaceful bosom of the church'. The Illinois Methodist, Peter Cartwright, taking up his new appointment in Jacksonville district in 1840, grieved to discover 'preachers and people . . . filled with a proscriptive disposition'; in Martinsburg, Virginia, Samuel Smith reported similar conflicts within churches and Christian families. The Massachusetts Baptist clergyman, Daniel C. Eddy, believed that in some churches ' a vote cast by the minister would dismember the society and cause a separation between pastor and people'; a minister went to vote 'under the eye of a dozen parishioners' who would only pardon him 'if he votes "our ticket"' but not otherwise. The itinerant Baptist evangelist Thomas Sheardown offered an especially graphic example of the 'fearful alienations' of 1840. On the last evening of a largely unsuccessful protracted meeting in Lake County, New York, the revivalist overheard one member of the church offering thanks to God for answering his daily prayer 'that little or nothing [be] effected'. Incensed by the pastor's readiness to let the church be used for political meetings by one party but not the other, the man had vindictively tried to choke off the revival effort.12 Not surprisingly, evangelicals in all sections of the country complained of revivals interrupted or thwarted by the 'wild, reckless and destructive sirocco' continued (New York, 1852), pp. 267-70; New York Evangelist (Presbyterian), 21 November 1844; Christian Watchman and Reflector (Baptist; Boston), 8 January 1857; D. Lewis, Recollections of a Superannuate . . . (Cincinnati, 1857), pp. 295-96; W.B. Sprague, A Sermon on the Danger of Political Strife . . . (Albany, 1844). 11. J.E. Welch, 'Diary', 7 October 1840, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia; North Carolina Christian Advocate (Raleigh, NC), 18 April 1856. 12. D.C. Eddy, The Commonwealth. Political Rights of Ministers; A Sermon, Preached on Fast Day, April 6, 1854. The Times, and the Men for the Times; Sermons Preached on Sabbath Days, June 11 & 13, 1854 (Boston, 1854), pp. 16-17; Western Christian Advocate,. 19 March, 1 June 1841, 15 November 1854, 7 January 1857; Southern Christian Advocate, 14 July 1848; Fletcher, Diary, vol. 4, p. 437; Christian Advocate and Journal, 4 November 1840; T.S. Sheardown, Half a Century's Labors in the Gospel . . . (Lewisburg, PA, 1865), pp.24-42.

Religious Revival and Political Renewal in Antebellum America


of electioneering, particularly that associated with presidential campaigns. The winter of 1839-40, for example, appeared to evangelicals of all persuasions to be a time of accelerating revival throughout the United States, promising much, but overtaken the following summer and fall by the Log-Cabin excitement. G.R. Jones, the Methodist minister in New Richmond, Ohio, set off for the annual conference in good heart, cheered by a successful camp meeting, by his church's financial well-being and by an addition over the year of 400 new members. 'On my return . . . I found a sad change. The political campaign had so engrossed the minds of many even of the members of the Church that a death chill was very evident.' Four years later, during the Clay-Polk contest, the Baptist minister of Gainesville, Georgia, complained that political excitement amongst Methodists and Baptists locally had ruined the prospects of religious progress and demonstrated 'that a divided mind cannot serve God acceptably'. Others used similar language to lament 'the great political fermentation' of that year and the decline in revivals in some areas to a level unknown for ten years. 'These are calamitous times to religion and to the Church of Christ', sighed the Methodist minister of Charles City, Virginia. Similar complaints of religious decline marked every presidential campaign of the antebellum era.13 Devout evangelicals' understanding of parties and mass elections as political elements inimical to religious revival and good social order appeared to be confirmed by God's dealings with the nation. Why, for example, should he have seen fit to remove from presidential office William Harrison and Zachary Taylor, if not to rebuke the convulsive electioneering and gladiatorial warfare that surrounded their election?14 Harrison's death, in particular, the first of a serving president in the republic's history and one which immediately followed the most exciting presidential election campaign to date, seemed to evangelical observers to offer a clear message to the republic. God had removed him because a sinful nation had put greater trust in political agency and human

13. Christian Index (Baptist; Penfield, GA) 11 October 1844; Western Christian Advocate, 5 June 1840, 29 January 1841, 20 August 1856; J.D. Lang, Religion and Education in America . . . (London, 1840), pp. 320-21; Pittsburgh Conference Journal (Methodist), 16 April 1840; Oberlin Evangelist, 16 December 1840; H. Bangs, The Autobiography and Journal of Rev. Heman Bangs . . . (New York, 1872); Christian Advocate and Journal, 27 November 1844; J. Black to M. Badger and C. Hall, 2 July 1844; G.W. Kennedy to C. Hall, 12 September 1844; J. Gerrish to M. Badger, 6 November 1848, American Home Missionary Society Papers (Microfilming Corporation of America); F.R. Gray to A. Bullard, 10 August 1848, A. Bullard Papers, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia. 14. See, for example, W.T. Dwight, 'A Great Man Fallen': A Discourse . . . (Portland, ME, 1841), pp. 17-19; D.S. Doggett, A Sermon on the Occasion of the Death of General William Henry Harrison . . . (Richmond, VA, 1841), p. 22; J.L. Reynolds, A Discourse Delivered at the Furman Theological Institution . . . (Winnsborough, SC, 1841), p. 12; E. Mason, God's Hand in Human Events: A Sermon . . . (New York, 1850); A.B. Van Zandt, God's Voice to the Nation: A Sermon . . . (Petersburg, VA, 1850), pp. 15-16; D. Magie, God's Voice and the Lessons It Teaches: A Sermon . . . (New York, 1850), pp. 10-11; J. West, Our Nation's Refuge — The Chamber of Solemn Reflection: A Sermon . . . (Schoharie Court House, NY, ?1850), pp.10-12.


Revival and Religion since 1700

instrumentality than in prayer and religious revivals. His early removal, insisted Samuel F. Smith, the Baptist pastor of Waterville, Maine, indicated not simply the Almighty's judgement on national sins as such, but on 'the sins which an inordinate political excitement engendered and involved . . . In the heat of party strife for a few months, every thing, sacred and profane, seemed swallowed up. Divine things were almost neglected . . . and a torrent of influences acted against the considerations . . . of the soul.' In the spring of 1841 the pace of religious revivals quickened as minsters used the President's death to remind their audiences of human mortality. David Riddle captured the new mood when he assured his Pittsburgh congregation that 'prosperous times may be expected . . . till that day cometh, when . . . the nights of earthly calamity lose themselves in the day of unclouded, uninterrupted, universal millennial glory'.15 Yet the relationship between revivals and political elections was far more complex than is suggested by this picture of simple antagonism and mutual exclusiveness. First, election campaigns did not necessarily eliminate revivals or even subordinate them to political activity. In many cases where political and religious interests collided the revivalists' efforts bore fruit. Some ministers deliberately timed protracted and camp meetings to clash with political attractions. This was true of Samuel Smith's meetings in the Baltimore conference in September and October 1840; four years later William Fee, disturbed by the high 'party spirit' on Eaton circuit, Ohio, began a protracted meeting during the week of the presidential election. Such efforts were often rewarded, for camp meetings in particular offered sociability, heightened emotions and a welcome interruption of routine. Robert Emory wrote to John McClintock in September 1840 from Churchville, Maryland: 'Our Camp M[eeting] here was a very delightful and successful one. About 150 professed to be converted. We have already taken in 70 whites. Never perhaps were more Camp M[eetings] held in this region, & never, perhaps, in spite of the political excitement, were they more successful.' Simultaneously at a camp meeting near Rogersville, Tennessee, '[pjreachers and people came up in the spirit of the work. Politics appeared to have been forgotten. At proper intervals the praying circles were in formed in the grove . . . Many crowded to the altar for prayer, and scores were brought from darkness to light.' In other election years, in the camp-meeting season of high and late summer, similar triumphant reports from all parts of the country reached the revival columns of the evangelical press. Indoor revival efforts made an impact, too. Jacob Fort described one of the greatest revivals of his ministry, in New Providence, New Jersey, when in 1852,

15. S.F. Smith, Sermon Occasioned by the Death of William Henry Harrison (Hallowell, ME, 1841), p. 15; J.H. Green, William Henry Harrison: His Life and Times (Richmond, VA, 1941), p. 513; Kirk, National Fast, p. 25; N. Hewit, Discourse at the Funeral Solemnities . . . (Bridgeport, CT, 1841), p. 8; W.B. Sprague, Voice of the Rod: A Sermon . . . (Albany, NY, 1841), pp. 9-11.

Religious Revival and Political Renewal in Antebellum America


despite the Scott-Pierce campaign, over seventy united with the Methodist and Presbyterian churches: 'Such was the general interest prevailing, that shops, and stores, and even the hotel was (sic) closed at night.' At the same time, Benjamin Mills, American Home Missionary Society of Frankfort, Kentucky, reported: 'Notwithstanding the prevalence of political excitement we succeed much better than I expected in keeping our congregations, both in the week & on the sabbath.'16 Secondly, political campaigns could themselves spur religious activity. Religious decline or quiescence during the election period commonly prompted activist evangelicals to promote revivals once political enthusiasm had declined. Ministers and religious editors called for incessant special effort: prayer meetings to implore revival, protracted meetings to generate them. In the sparsely settled farming community around Burlington, Connecticut, the excitement of the 1856 campaign 'got the inhabitants in the habit of being "out at nights" and was seized upon in preaching and exhorting as an argument for holding religious meetings'; ox-teams and sleds brought in the penitents when storms and snow made the roads impassable. In many cases the climate of reflection after elections provided a helpful setting for the revivalist's appeal, as men and women grieved over personal and communal enmities deriving from political differences. At one Baptist revival a church member stood to beg forgiveness of another: Your politics were the opposite of mine. You know I would often drive around, on your carriage road, with my buggy blazoned with 'Tippecanoe'. I would sing my song, crack my whip, and was gone. I knew it would make you mad. I did it wilfully.

Daniel Baker's Presbyterian revival in Beaufort, South Carolina, at the time of the nullification crisis seems to have exploited a profound desire in some circles for political and social healing. 'Animosities were forgotten. Our community seemed like one great family', reflected a local editor. 'I would be willing to kiss the dust upon the feet of the union-men', one penitent nullifier announced, 'if they would only come to Christ.' Ministers also played on the disappointment that accompanied thwarted political ambitions. Successful revivalism may have been nourished by political defeat. The reaction of Benjamin Adams, a New

16. Christian Advocate and Journal, 26 August, 2 September, 7, 28 October, 4 November, 1840, 8 November 1848, 2 October, 6 November, 11 December 1856, 25 October, 1, 15, 22 November 1860; W.I. Fee, Bringing the Sheaves: Gleanings from Harvest Fields in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia (Cincinnati, 1896), pp. 134-37; R, Emory to J. McClintock, 14 September 1840, Emory Papers; Pittsburgh Conference Journal, 15 October 1840; Southern Christian Advocate, 1 September, 20 October, 10 November 1848; J. Fort, 'Reminiscences', p. 238, Methodist Center, Drew University; Christian Watchman and Reflector, 8 January 1857; Pittsburgh Christian Advocate, 11 November 1840; Western Christian Advocate, 16 October 1840; Fletcher, Diary, 4, pp. 469-70; B. Mills to M. Badger, 2 October 1852, American Home Missionary Society Papers. See also North Carolina Christian Advocate for September and October 1856.


Revival and Religion since 1700

York Methodist preacher, to the defeat of the Republicans' John Fremont in 1856 — 'May God take care of my country. He loves it far better than I can . . . O for a shaking among the dry bones!' — summoned up afresh his evangelistic energies in a way that suggested both his bitter disappointment and his conviction that only a regenerate nation could act responsibly in politics. Similar feelings were at work in the call for revival following William Harrison's death. Taken together these pressures established a widespread pattern of gathering religious momentum in the winter and spring months after a fall presidential election.17 Thirdly, and most profoundly, it is important to recognise that the worlds of revivals and evangelical culture, on the one hand, and election campaigns and political culture, on the other, were not separate, impermeable spheres. Political organisers of the new-style parties were involved in the novel task of securing and mobilising mass support. The most evident and instructive models of mass mobilisation to which they could turn were the evangelical churches: it was they, as Donald Mathews has reminded us, that had made the Second Great Awakening the most impressive organising process the nation had yet seen, one which had drawn men and women with local loyalties and concerns into a movement that transcended the immediate community. Recognising the power of the churches, political candidates and party managers sought to graft religious onto party loyalties. They worshipped in churches themselves. They engaged in 'recognition polities' by choosing candidates who were publicly associated with — even members of — particular denominations. They exploited issues which they believed would engage the attentions of evangelicals. They exchanged the quotidian vocabulary of the legislative chamber, the language of compromise, for a more Utopian script. For their part, religious leaders by no means lacked a sense of public responsibility and civic duty. It is a mistake to see evangelicals in the mass as other-worldly quietists who turned their back on political engagement. True, evangelical ministers tended to retreat through the early years of the nineteenth century from the direct political involvement that had marked the clerics of the revolutionary generation. They nonetheless possessed a powerful sense 17. Oberlin Evangelist, 3 January 1849; Christian Advocate and Journal, 5 February 1845, 13 November 1856, 14 March 1857; Northwestern Christian Advocate, 12 November 1856; New York Evangelist, 21 November 1844; Sheardown, Half a Century's Labours, pp. 247-49; W. Baker, The Life and Labors of the Rev. Daniel Baker (Philadelphia, 1859), pp. 148-57; B. Adams, 'Diary', 6 November 1856, Methodist Center, Drew University; Western Christian Advocate, 10 December 1856; New York Observer (Presbyterian), 27 November, 18, 25 December 1856, 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 January, 12, 19 March 1857; W. Hirst and T. Sewell to E.S. Janes, 21 November 1856, E.S. Janes Papers, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston; D.D. Love to D.P. Kidder, 27 October 1856, 25 February 1857, D.P. Kidder Papers, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston; J.A. Smith, Memoir of Rev. Nathaniel Colver, D.D. (n.p., 1873), pp. 230-32; Pittsburgh Christian Advocate, 14 April 1841, 18 December 1844, 8, 15 January, 5, 19 February, 12, 19 March 1845. The concept of an oscillation between political and religious enthusiasm, and of revivals as the product of dashed political hopes, is pursued — in a very different setting — in E.P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class, rev. ed. (London, 1968), pp. 427-30, 917-23.

Religions Revival and Political Renewal in Antebellum America


of their political responsibilities and sought through their benevolent reform societies to sustain and extend a Christian republic. Faced with the advent of mass democracy from the 1820s, evangelicals came increasingly to find within the new order alternative means and opportunities for the inauguration of the Kingdom. In this context of overlapping evangelical and political cultures, otherworldly revivalism contributed much to this-worldly electioneering and political perceptions. From revivalist preachers politicians learnt much of the language and many of the techniques that would generate popular enthusiasm and bind voters to their parties. Determined to establish their parties' godly purposes, they invited ministers to offer prayer at party conventions (which were often held in churches, in many places the only sizeable and comfortable public buildings available). They could be heard referring to their party as a political church and its activists as 'missionaries', 'presiding elders', 'bishops' and 'local preachers' who would — in the words of a buoyant Tennessee Whig in 1840 — 'make war upon the heathern (sic), & carry the glad tidings of our political salvation to every corner'. Meetings of party election strategists were likened to gatherings of the prayerful devout. Learning of Harrison's three-man campaign committee in 1840, one Whig reflected: 'Where two or "three" meet together in my name, there I am in the midst, and that to bless them.'18 Party organisers learnt much from innovative revival preachers about reaching a mass audience through press and pulpit, about the efficacy of persevering, continuous and dramatic effort, and about consolidating loyalties. The practice of multiplying political gatherings and rotating speakers to maintain and deepen interest was rooted in evangelical experience. 'The politicians have been making revival efforts', explained an envious evangelical commentator in the New York Observer at the close of the 1848 campaign. In some places they have been holding protracted meetings, continued night after night for many successive weeks, and these have been continued with energy, enthusiasm and power, as if those engaged really felt the greatness of the work they had in hand. The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light. They adapt means to the end.

Some party managers organised political camp meetings spread over two, three or four days. During August and September in particular, the season of Methodist camp meetings, huge outdoor gatherings met in great excitement and expectancy on sites normally reserved for more spiritual assemblies.

18. J. Campbell to W.B. Campbell, 4 February 1840, quoted in T.B. Alexander, 'Presidential Election of 1840 in Tennessee', Tennessee Historical Quarterly, 1 (March 1942), pp. 26-27; The Life and Public Services o f . . . J.K. Polk (Baltimore, 1844), p. 5; Western Christian Advocate, 7 August 1840; Jonesboro Whig, 9 May 1840. For evangelicals' borrowing from the organisational strategies of secular politics, and vice-versa, see B. Wyatt-Brown, 'Prelude to Abolitionism: Sabbatarian Politics and the Rise of the Second Party System', Journal of American History, 58 (June 1971), pp. 322, 329-30, and Christian Advocate and Journal, 29 September 1841.


Revival and Religion since 1700

Introductory prayer preceded sustained political 'sermons' redolent with biblical imagery and theological terminology. The singing of political hymns — 'Come, cheer up, ye Whigs! for most holy's your cause' — manifested a fervour and gusto, not to mention a familiarity of tune, that reminded those listening of Methodist revivals and the catchy melodies of religious folk music.19 The interpenetration of the worlds of revivalist religion and electoral politics went well beyond the politician's borrowing of the forms, techniques and language of evangelicalism, however. Revivalist Protestants also brought into politics their evangelical agenda and a way of looking at the world which shaped the substance as well as the style of political debate. In New England, for example, as the historian Paul Goodman has shown, the mass social movement of Antimasonry, tapping deep roots of religious faith, was transformed into an active third party in the later 1820s and early 1830s: endorsed and even led by clergy, it succeeded in mobilising New Englanders unmoved by the appeals of Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams in 1828. Sabbatarians, too, similarly harnessed the religious enthusiasm of the Second Great Awakening for political purposes.20 But it was the Whig party that was to prove an even broader-based beneficiary of evangelicals' political engagement. There are several possible routes into analysing how, as the second party system moved into its mature phase, revivalist Protestants shaped election discourse and party cultures. None beckons more invitingly than that which leads into the southern part of Appalachia, towards the rumbustious religion and politics of eastern Tennessee and the stentorian voice of that region's foremost Whig-Methodist publicist, William Gannaway Brownlow. Southern Appalachia — a homogeneous region of 100,000 square miles, embracing the mountain range that runs northeastwards from upper Alabama and Georgia in the south to western Virginia and eastern Kentucky in the north — has been poorly served by historians of the Second Great Awakening. A burgeoning literature on popular religion in the first half of the nineteenth century, in which historians have shown an admirable attention to locality, has all but ignored the Southern Highlands.21 In 1851 a northern Presbyterian 19. New York Observer, quoted in Oberlin Evangelist, 3 January 1849; D.W. Howe, The Political Culture of the American Whigs (Chicago, 1979), p. 160; G. Peck, The Life and Times of George Peck, D.D. (New York, 1874), pp. 293-94; Harrison Medal Minstrel: Comprising a Collection of the Most Popular and Patriotic Songs . . . (Philadelphia, 1840), pp. 3, 21, 65; J.S. Littell, The Clay Minstrel: or, National Songster . . . (2nd edn, Philadelphia, 1844), pp. 235-36; Hatch, The Democratization of American Christianity, pp. 146-61; H.H. Grant, Peter Cartwright: Pioneer (New York, 1931), pp. 153-55. 20. P. Goodman, Towards a Christian Republic: Antimasonry and the Great Tradition in New England, 1826-1836 (New York, 1988), pp. 3, 53, 56, 106-9, 122, 152-53, 169, 235; R.R. John, 'Taking Sabbatarianism Seriously: The Postal System, the Sabbath, and the Transformation of American Political Culture', Journal of the Early Republic, 10 (1990), pp. 517-67. 21.The most helpful sources for an understanding of popular religion in the early and mid nineteenth century in southern Appalachia in general, and eastern Tennessee in particular, include: J.B. McFerrin, History of Methodism in Tennessee (3 vols, Nashville, 1888); R.N. Price, continued

Religious Revival and Political Renewal in Antebellum America


haughtily described the area, and specifically eastern Tennessee, as 'entirely shut out from the world', and sneered at its inhabitants as 'backwoodsmen' with 'rudeprimitive habits'.22 Modern writers might not share these crude prejudices towards the region and its predominantly Scotch-Irish population, but in their preoccupation with New England and its religious diaspora they have implicitly asserted the superiority of Yankee culture and its greater importance in the shaping of mid-century America. The neglect is undeserved. Southern Appalachia may have been provincial, and its economic development may have lagged behind that of other regions, but its fertile river valleys had attracted settlers since well before the Revolution, and fostered amongst them grand material ambitions.23 In religion, the region's fierce enthusiasms and the intense competition between its three principal denominations — Methodists, Baptists and Presbyterians — cry out for sustained analysis. Most pertinent of all in the context of this essay, Appalachia offers one of the clearest examples of how the excitements, loyalties and perspectives generated by the revivalist religion of the Second Great Awakening carried over into the new political partisanship of the second party system. By focusing in particular on 'Parson' Brownlow and his eastern Tennessee milieu we can see how elements in Methodist revivalism and Whig political chauvinism proved broadly compatible and mutually reinforcing. There are few more colourful and pugnacious representatives of the public life of antebellum America than William Gannaway Brownlow.24 Born in 1805 to Virginian parents of Scotch-Irish stock and orphaned by the time he was eleven, Brownlow spent his youth working in upland western Virginia on his uncle's farm and then as an apprentice carpenter. Conversion at a Methodist camp meeting changed his life. He gave up carpentry, single-mindedly set about educating himself and sought a career as a religious leader. In 1826 Bishop Joshua Soule admitted him on trial into the itinerant ministry of the Holston Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Over the next decade Brownlow visited some of the remotest circuits in the mountains of Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas. With his imposing stature, sharp mind, even sharper tongue, and saddle-bags filled with combative Methodist literature, he uncompromisingly set about rescuing souls from the clutches of the devil. He also contended bitterly with Baptists over adult baptism, with socially aloof continued Holston Methodism from its Origin to the Present Time (3 vols, Nashville, TEN, 1904); C.C. Cleveland, The Great Revival in the West, 1797-1805 (Chicago, 1916); J.B. Boles, The Great Revival, 1787-1805: The Origins of the Southern Evangelical Mind (Lexington, KY, 1972); H.A. Norton, Religion in Tennessee, 1777-1945 (Knoxville, TEN, 1981); D.T. Bailey, Shadow on the Church: Southwestern Evangelical Religion and the Issue of Slavery 1783-1860 (Ithaca, NY, 1985). 22. New York Observer, quoted in Knoxville Whig, 1 March 1851. 23. R.W. Haskins, 'Internecine Strife in Tennessee: Andrew Johnson versus Parson Brownlow', Tennessee Historical Quarterly, 24 (1965), p. 322. 24. E.M. Coulter, William G. Brownlow: Fighting Parson of the Southern Highlands (Chapel Hill, 1937; new edition, Knoxville, TEN, 1971, with an introduction by J.W. Patton) serves his subject well and provides a sure sense of context.


Revival and Religion since 1700

Presbyterians over their alleged ambitions to resurrect the union of church and state, and with both churches over the severe Calvinistic doctrines of predestination, unconditional election and the limited atonement of Christ. In 1836 he married the sixteen-year-old Elizabeth O'Brien, retired from the travelling ministry and settled as a newspaper editor in Elizabethton, in eastern Tennessee. Though he never again travelled a circuit, he equally never stopped regarding himself as a servant of the Almighty. In the pages of his Tennessee Whig and its successors Brownlow consistently sought to promote Methodism, the Lord's Kingdom, the interests of the mountain region and correct political principles. Brownlow the soul-saving Methodist nourished Brownlow the combative Whig; revivalist fused with party propagandist. The Whig, especially after its removal to Knoxville, became the most influential political paper in the region, and its pugilistic style earned it a notoriety much further afield.25 Brownlow was a Methodist entrepreneur whose faith in enterprise applied equally to matters spiritual and material. As an Arminian he believed deeply that individual men and women possessed the power and responsibility not only to transform their own spiritual lives but also to promote the moral and social progress of the community in which they lived. 'Ours is an age of improvement', he incanted. He was convinced that by right action eastern Tennessee could be made 'the garden spot of the Union, and the El Dorado of America', 'the first State in the Union and in the world . . . under the genial beneficence of Heaven'. What the region needed, the Parson explained in the first issue of the Tennessee Whig, was improved credit facilities, a liberal programme of internal improvements 'and everything else that is morally and politically right'; by such means it would realise its potential as a 'rich, growing, and truly prosperous country'.26 Brownlow campaigned energetically for public investment in railroads that would link farmers, planters and incipient industrialists to their potential markets, principally to the south and south east, blocked off by the mountain ranges.27 Also essential, he insisted, was the nurturing of 'intellectual, moral and religious 25. Brownlow moved the Whig from Elizabethton to Jonesboro in May 1840; the move to Knoxville followed in April 1849. Through the 1850s the newspaper's circulation grew to make it one of the largest and most widely read in the South: it had over 10,000 subscribers in 1861, some of them in the northern states. Coulter, Brownlow, pp. 38-39, 46, 50. For Brownlow's continuing engagement in revivals and camp meetings see, for example, Jonesboro Whig, 5 January 1848; Knoxville Whig, 23 June 1849. 26. Tennessee Whig, 16 May 1839; Jonesboro Whig, 3 November 1847; Knoxville Whig, 1 March, 5 April 1851, 11 September 1852. 27. For Brownlow's support for the development of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad and the Georgia and East Tennessee Railroad see, for example, Jonesboro Whig, 7 July 1847; Knoxville Whig, 31 January, 25 May 1850. By no means all Whigs supported railroads (many western Tennessee Whigs had no interest in advancing the material interests of the eastern region) and Democrats were not unanimous in their opposition; but Andrew Johnson's belief that they were injurious to morals and to the well being of the country struck a chord amongst many Jacksonians. Knoxville Whig, 26 May, 2 June 1849, 2 February, 23 March 1850, 29 December 1851.

Religions Revival and Political Renewal in Antebellum America


culture': only through the voluntary efforts of churches, the state provision of common schools, and the encouragement of temperance societies and other moral reform ventures would 'industry', 'enterprise', 'polite life' and 'elevation' replace the violence, brawling and drunkenness that still scarred a society only a short step removed from its frontier phase.28 Like his fellow Methodist editor-ministers in the Southern Highlands — including Samuel Patton, David R. McAnally and Thomas Stringfield — Brownlow endorsed the view that '[t]he interests of Education, Agriculture, and Commerce, are more nearly allied to the prosperity of Christ's Kingdom than most men, perhaps, are willing to admit'.29 Like them he believed that only a Whig administration would advance this alliance of interests. He spoke for those who believed Whiggery would encourage the 'spirit of evangelical enterprise' and the 'enlightened improvement in every thing for the happiness of man' and who saw in the Democratic administrations of Jackson, Van Buren and Polk both moral corruption and philosophically flawed economic policy.30 '[I]f the religion of our God — if the institutions of our country — and if our liberties and privileges are worth anything', Brownlow explained to his fellow Tennesseans in 1839, they had to be contended for through Whiggery.31 Brownlow's engagement in Methodist revivalism had led him to see the world as a battle-ground between two moral orders. The whole of history could be interpreted as a continuous conflict between God and Satan. The revivalist sermon, with its polarised language of heaven and hell, good and evil, salvation and damnation, sin and grace, Christ and Antichrist, reinforced this framework of thought. This manichean perspective — a well-established element in the intellectual framework of the early republic — profoundly influenced the way in which Brownlow interpreted politics and conducted his public discourse.32 Candidates and platforms took on an ethical, even religious, significance. Whigs, he believed, offered not just a

28. Knoxville Whig, 14 July 1849, 23 February, 25 May, 28 December 1850, 11 September 1852. Frank Richardson, a young Methodist preacher in the 1850s, described his WhigMethodist parents, of McMinn County, Tennessee, as pious people who looked for the moral improvement of a society marked by drinking, cock-fighting, shooting matches, horse racing and other 'dissipation' amongst a 'wild', 'backward' people. F. Richardson, From Sunrise to Sunset: Reminiscence (Bristol, TEN, 1890), pp. 9-16. 29. Holston Christian Advocate editorial, quoted in Knoxville Whig, 11 December 1850. See also Jonesboro Whig, 20 January, 29 September 1847; Knoxville Whig, 21 September 1851; Highland Messenger, 5, 12 June 1840; D.R. McAnally, Life and Times of Rev. S. Patton, D.D. and Annals of the Holston Conference (St Louis, 1859); F.M.B. Milliard, Stepping Stones to Glory: From Circuit Rider to Editor and the Years in between: Life of David Rice McAnally, D.D., 1810-95 (Baltimore, 1975). 30. W.D. Valentine, 'Diary', 19 May 1852, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Jonesboro Whig, 26 May 1847; Highland Messenger, 7 August 1840, criticising the Democrats' hard money doctrine. 31. Tennessee Whig, 16 May 1839. 32. R. Bloch, Visionary Republic: Millennial Themes in American Thought, 1756-1800 (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 56, 61, 63, 204-5 and passim, discusses the powerful influence of manichean thought in America in the Revolutionary and early Republican periods.


Revival and Religion since 1700

socially utilitarian programme — the 'American system' of Henry Clay, with its emphasis on the federal government's actively promoting the nation's economic development — but a vision of a holy, Christian republic: 'The word Whig is made up of the initial letters of all good men, 'We Hope In God.' Whig principles embraced 'Love of country — love for God — hatred of Romanism — hatred of sin and the Devil — regard for posterity — love of patriotism.' Democrats proffered a more 'hands-off philosophy towards both the government's economic functions and its role in regulating the morals of society. Brownlow judged Jacksonian policies, which reflected this laissez-faire philosophy and more pluralist conception of American culture, as not merely mistaken but sinful. Could anyone 'in all the camps of political Israel', he asked, doubt the Democrats' 'profanation of holy things' and 'contempt of the Supreme Being'?33 They might claim that Christianity and Democracy were of common origin, but this 'blasphemous assertion' was exposed by the party's composition and practice.34 Made up of venal spoils-seekers, Jesuits and their fellow-travellers, 'avowed infidels' of the school of Tom Paine, Robert Owen and Fanny Wright, and 'fallen' Protestant ministers and church members, the Democratic party, he warned, was bent on destroying civil and religious liberties.35 Brownlow thus saw the presidential elections of 1840 and 1844, for example, in apocalyptic terms, as conflicts between 'the cause of God and morality' and the legions of the devil. Other Tennesseans concurred. One likened the Log-Cabin contest to the battle of Armageddon, before reverting to Old Testament imagery: 'Should the Philistines succeed, and the ark of Liberty be taken by them, wo — wo is unto us — wo unto Israel.' This revivalist mentality allowed little scope for compromise, complexity or a search for 33. Jonesboro Whig, 7 October 1840, quoting the Claremount Eagle; 23 September 1846; Tennessee Whig, 23 May 1839. 34. Ibid., 19, 26 September 1839. Governor Andrew Johnson told Tennessee Democrats in his inaugural address in 1853 that 'the Democratic party . . . has undertaken the political redemption of man, and sooner or later the great work will be accomplished. In the political world, it corresponds to that of Christianity in the moral. They are going along . . . in converging lines — the one purifying and elevating man religiously, the other politically.' Haskins, 'Internecine Strife', p. 332. For Brownlow's predictably scornful response, see Knoxville Whig, 19 November 1853. 35. Tennessee Whig, 22 October 1839. Brownlow charged Democrats in general, and Presidents Martin Van Buren and James K. Polk in particular, with establishing an 'unholy alliance' with the Jesuits. Tennessee Whig, 30 April 1840; Jonesboro Whig, 16 August 1848. There were in fact few Catholics in Tennessee. The diocese of Nashville was one of the weakest of Catholic dioceses in the United States: even by 1856 it embraced a mere seven churches, twelve clergymen and an estimated Catholic population of 7,000. Metropolitan Catholic Almanac and Laity's Directory (Baltimore), 1856, p. 308. Like other Whig propagandists, Brownlow used the case of 'the infidel Locofoco' — John Pettit, Democratic congressman from Indiana, who opposed the appointment of chaplains to Congress — to tar the whole Jacksonian party. Knoxville Whig, 21 July 1849. He also seized eagerly on evidence that ex-Methodists were active in the Democratic party: 'While they are within the pales (sic) of the Church, they are restrained by the fear of expulsion, from notorious lying, but so soon as they are put over board, they shine the Devil into the shade, on the score of lying. They are the living pictures of moral death. 'Jonesboro Whig, 6 September 1848.

Religious Revival and Political Renewal in Antebellum America


consensus. Brownlow's prospectus for Jonesboro and eastern Tennessee reads like a preacher's litany of moral antitheses: We want less idleness and more industry; we want less extravagance and more economy; we need more honest men and fewer rogues; we need more capital and less credit; . . . we want more shirts and fewer ruffles; . . . we need more Christian morality, and fewer grog shops; we need more laboring men and fewer loafers; we want more mechanics and fewer dandies; . . . we need less ignorance, and more education; . . . we want less aristocracy and more democracy.

When Whig managers turned in 1848 to General Zachary Taylor, the hero of the Mexican War, with the aim of running him as an 'antiparty' candidate for the presidency because he lacked previous party political connections, Brownlow was incensed. 'A neutral, no-party, fense-riding (szc), go-between, either in religion or politics, is, in our eyes, the most hateful of all the human beings made in the image of God', he raged. Taylor 'says he is not an ultra but a moderate Whig. We are an ultra, and we want an ultra for our candidate.'36 If the world of revivalism served to encourage party propagandists to use antithesis and polarisation to help induct a relatively unlearned electorate into the ways of mass politics, it also encouraged them to present the election campaign as the agency of political renewal and community redemption. The campaign, like the revival, sought to turn the community into the ways of righteousness through the multiplying of individual 'conversions'. Brownlow aimed in both settings to rally the faithful, arouse lukewarm Laodiceans, reclaim lapsed members, and win over the undecided and the Devil worshippers. The joy in heaven over the repenting sinner was as nothing to the ecstasy in party headquarters when a 'reclaiming committee' secured the return of a backslider or defector. Whigs sang lustily of 'penitent Locofocos', apostates returning to the fold 'like a prodigal son', and 'political sinners' groaning on the 'anxious seat'. Interceding to protect a heckler at a New York meeting in 1856, a Methodist demanded, 'let him stay, he came to scoff, he may remain to pray'. Political 'conversions' might be accompanied by mock baptisms (high-spirited Democrats in 1844 appear to have baptised a new member 'in the name of Andrew JACKSON, the Father! James K. POLK, the Son!! and TEXAS, the Holy Ghost!!!') and by mock communion services, involving the distribution of whiskey or cider and corn bread as 'sacraments'.37

36. Ibid., 8 July 1840, 2, 23 February, 10 May, 21 June, 2 August 1848; B.F. Martin to W.B. Campbell, 10 February 1840, quoted in Alexander, 'Presidential Election of 1840', 34. 37. Tennessee Whig, 14 November 1839, 9 April 1840; Jonesboro Whig, 6 May 1840; J.A. Bent to M.B. Bent, 20 August 1840, J. Blanchard Papers, Wheaton College, Illinois; New York Tribune, 25 July 1856; Littell, Clay Minstrel, pp. 290-91; Ohio State Journal, 27 May, 17 June, 1 September 1844; C.S. Brown, Memoir of Rev. Abel Brown . . . (Worcester, MA, 1849), p. 102.


Revival and Religion since 1700

Presidential candidates were stewards of righteousness, agents of personal and national salvation: Whigs characterised Harrison as 'Heaven's agent' and Clay as 'the redeemer of the country' and, in Brownlow's words, a 'Moses' who would help his people 'gain the promised land!'38 Against this background it is not surprising that political organisers managed to raise emotional excitement to levels more commonly associated with religious enthusiasm. At the huge Southwestern Convention in August 1840, when thirty thousand turned out to hear Henry Clay, men acted as if possessed, some of them embracing each other in transports of rapture, others with tears in their eyes choking with emotion . . . Women . . . were as ungovernable in emotions as the sterner sex, and several fainted, overcome by an excess of zeal and enthusiasm.

When Brownlow waved coon-skins and water gourds, and 's[a]ng louder, jumped higher, and fell flatter and harder than any body else in the whole state of Tennessee' he was doing no more than reproducing the strong feelings he had manifested at the time of his conversion and later generated in his own revival meetings. Revivals and election campaigns provided opportunities for cathartic release, for personal and community purification. In the climax of both revival and electoral victory came exuberant escape from psychological tension together with the conviction that new birth would bring a new order. 'Thank God!' exclaimed the editor of the Memphis Enquirer on hearing of Harrison's victory, 'THE MORNING COMETH!', and in a similar vein an Ohio Whig exulted in 1848: 'Old Zach Has Come!! Let the Patriotic Shout Go Forth! A Nation is Redeemed!'39 One further electoral dimension of revivalist religion deserves to be explored: the partisan ramifications of the denominational loyalties established or confirmed by conversion and revival. No region of the United States experienced more bitter sectarian conflict than this section of Appalachia. One line of division — over infant baptism — cut through Calvinist churches, throwing Arminian Methodists and Calvinist Presbyterians together in opposition to the Baptists. But the most furious of rivalries was that which set the Methodists against their Calvinist competitors for souls. As the denomination third in size but foremost in social influence, Presbyterians attracted Methodist suspicions on account of their domination of the political and educational posts in eastern 38. Jonesboro Whig, 8 December 1847. Brownlow saw the political prize in 1840, as in later presidential elections, as 'nothing less than the salvation of our country'. Jonesboro Whig, 6 May 1840. 'What must we do to be saved?' Brownlow asked during the 1860 election: 'Keep out of the Democratic party . . . and it is the only hope of salvation.' Knoxville Whig, 20 October 1860. The Whig State Convention in Virginia in 1844, pursuing similar metaphors of purification and moral struggle, looked to the November election as 'that great day of Deliverance': 'VIRGINIA MUST BE REDEEMED'. Whig State Convention (Richmond, VA, 1844), p. 11. 39. J. Phelan, History of Tennessee (Boston, 1889), 391, quoted in Alexander, 'Presidential Election of 1840', p. 36; Coulter, Brownlow, p. 112; R.G. Gunderson, The Log-Cabin Campaign (Lexington, KY, 1957), p. 258; Ohio State Journal, 13 November 1848.

Religions Revival and Political Renewal in Antebellum America


Tennessee; similar status resentments, as well as a fear that Presbyterians sought to fuse church and state, undergirded Methodist attacks on that denomination (and specifically on Ezra Stiles Ely of Philadelphia) for demanding in the late 1820s a 'Christian party in polities' and for its domination of the national moral reform societies. In return, Presbyterians, alarmed by the dramatic growth and revival successes of their Arminian rivals, engaged in abuse of Methodists' organisation, theology and morality, especially through the medium of Frederick Augustus Ross's Calvinistic Magazine. Ross attacked Methodists as autocrats, crypto-Romanists, Tories and (in the 'confessional' of the class-meeting) debauchers of women. 'Calvinism', he maintained, 'leads to all freedom — while Arminianism leads to monarchy and tyranny.' The warfare between Rossites and the Methodists persisted from the late 1820s right through into the 1840s and beyond, even though Ross himself left the area in 1849.40 Vicious disputation by tract, journal and pulpit also characterised relations between Methodists and Baptists — a conflict made all the more intense by each denomination's vision of itself as the natural church of the common people. Angry and interminable debates over complete immersion and the scriptural soundness of infant baptism marked the whole period, supplemented by Methodist charges that Baptists were ignoramuses opposed to formal learning, and Baptists' claims that Wesley's followers were unscrupulous proselytisers who would do anything — even rebaptise their members by immersion — to achieve supremacy.41 Mutual fury reached a crescendo in the early and mid 1850s, surrounding the polemics of James R. Graves, the editor of the Tennessee Baptist in Nashville and a powerful revivalist preacher. Graves revived Ross's arguments in the pages of his newspaper and then published his articles as a book called The Great Iron Wheel: or, Republicanism Backwards and Christianity Reversed. In The Great Iron Wheel Examined Brownlow mixed invective, personal insult and innuendo in a bellicose riposte, which made him the Methodists' leader in the struggle against Graves in much the same way that he had emerged as their champion in the war against Ross.42 Reflecting on these sectarian contentions, he concluded that 'there is, perhaps, more of the spirit that prevailed in Geneva [when Servetus was burned] . . . in East Tennessee, then in any other place in this Union'. But he did little to lessen the problem by denouncing Graves as — amongst other things — a 40. Joneshoro Whig, 14 May 1840, 22, 29 September, 20 October, 10 November 1847, 14 June, 20 December 1848; Coulter, Brownlow, pp. 18-20, 26-34, 53-65. Cf. Valentine, 'Diary', 27 June 1853. 41. Coulter, Brownlow, pp. 18-19, 66-81; Biblical Recorder, 24 February 1854. A North Carolina Baptist editor complained wearily: 'it is generally know[n] in this section of the country that the members of the Methodist church are the most proselyting of any . . . denomination'. Biblical Recorder, 15 March 1845. 42. Brownlow's speaking campaign against Ross in 1846-47 led him to address thirty separate four-hour meetings in Jonesboro and other parts of eastern Tennessee to average audiences of 700 people; he also issued four pamphlets in defence of Methodism. Jonesboro Whig, 31 March, 6 October 1847.


Revival and Religion since 1700

'little red-faced, small whiskered dandy' and a 'loathsome blackguard' who edited a 'very dirty' sheet. This was a model of circumspection compared with his ugly assaults on Ross, whom he charged repeatedly with adultery, lying and cowardice and to whom he referred as 'his African Highness' and 'an insolent Free Negro' (his father was Scottish, his mother a mulatto slave).43 Historians' neglect of southern Appalachia in general and of eastern Tennessee in particular means that we as yet have no precise understanding of how far these quarrels amongst competing revivalist Protestants moulded party political loyalties. Yet some broad patterns are discernible. Brownlow himself insisted — but only when it suited his needs — that in the alignments of the second party system political principle took precedence over sectarian loyalties, that in politics his Whig ties tugged more urgently than his denominational obligations. When Democrats tried, in his words, 'to arouse the prejudices of both Presbyterians and Baptists, against us [Brownlow-Methodist Whigs], by reminding them of our former books and pamphlets, and pulpit exhibitions' against Calvinists, he declared this (in 1839) an outmoded strategy, since 'religious feeling and sectarian prejudice' no longer exercised 'tyrannical dominion over our whole country': 'we have a number of political and personal friends in Tennessee, both in and out of the different churches.' At about the same time the Parson found himself in furious political dispute with his local postmaster over a twenty-five-cent surcharge on a letter. The postmaster, the Rev. William Lewis, was both a Jacksonian appointee and a fellow Methodist. Angrily Brownlow declared, I would support a thorough Whig of the Presbyterian, Baptist, or any other Church, or even of the world, in preference to the most pious Democrat, within the whole range of the Methodist Episcopal Church . . . I can venture to say, these are the feelings of our party, no matter what branch of the church they may be attached to.

He reiterated the point a few years later: 'when men have been brought out for office, we have never paused to enquire — is he a Methodist, a Presbyterian, a Baptist? No — we have asked the question, is he a Whig? is he honest, capable, and faithful?' It was on this basis, he explained, that he had preferred Henry Clay, an Episcopalian, over Zachary Taylor, a Methodist 'in sentiment', when Whigs turned to choose a presidential nominee in 1848.44 Yet Brownlow protested too much when he asserted that the sectarian conflicts of the Second Great Awakening had not structured the coalitions of the second party system. Indeed, he was often one of the most unabashed amongst Whig propagandists in his appeal to denominational loyalty. He 43. Ibid., 6, 13 October 1847, 14, 21 June, 2 August 1848; Knoxville Whig, 20 September, 4 October 1851, 4 September 1852. In fact Graves, nearly six feet tall, cut rather a fine figure. J.J. Burnett, Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers (Nashville, 1919), pp. 184—200. 44. Tennessee Whig, 19 September, 10 October 1839; Joneshoro Whig, 26 July 1846, 10 November 1847.

Religious Revival and Political Renewal in Antebellum America


regularly declared Whiggery the natural political home of 'true' Methodists: in 1839 he claimed that four out of every five Methodist preachers in eastern Tennessee supported the party; by 1852 his estimate had increased to five out of six.45 By circular argument he concluded that Democratic Methodists were nominal, flawed Christians. He proffered as typical the example of the elderly Methodist minister of Hawkins County, Tennessee, James Kerr, who had allegedly remarked 'that he would support a horse thief, if he knew him to be a Democrat, before he would a Whig, though the latter might be an honest man!'46 Brownlow was rarely slow to identify the linkages between his sectarian and his political foes. 'The ruling majority' of the Presbyterian church in Tennessee, he sneered, 'don't allow a Preacher to open his mouth on politics . . . unless, forsooth, the Preacher chances to be a Locofoco, and then all is right.' He regularly reminded his readers of the particular sectarian connections of his editorial enemies: for example, the editor of the Democratic Knoxville Sentinel, John W. Lawton, was a Methodist Protestant; others included the Cumberland Presbyterian editor of the Athens (Tennessee) Courier and the Rev. J. Leigh of the Dresden (Tennessee) Patriot, a Baptist. When hostile preachers spoke out for the Democrats, Brownlow presented them as morally deficient: negro stealers, seducers and ex-ministers who 'had been expelled for drunkenness, lying, and their devotion to women, and other Democratic measures'.47 When it furthered his purposes Brownlow and other Methodist leaders were only too ready to invoke the potentiality of a 'Methodist' vote against politicians who misbehaved. This was the case when the warfare between Ross and the Methodists reached a new crescendo in the later 1840s, with the Presbyterian polemicist and his allies calling for the putting down of the Arminians by the civil authorities. Though some linked Ross's attacks to the Locofocos, Ross himself (like many other New School Presbyterians in the region) was a Whig. Brownlow and his troops were quick to threaten retaliation at the polls against those Whig politicians — including Thomas A.R. Nelson — who had given financial assistance to Ross's publications. The quarterly conference of Greenville circuit resolved in September 1847, 'That though we seriously deprecate any thing like a religious party in politics, . . . yet from the past history of the Presbyterian church, and the spirit now evinced by their leader we have cause to look well where we cast our suffrages'. In fact,

45. Tennessee Whig, 14 November 1839 (referring to eastern Tennessee alone); Knoxville Whig, 16 October 1852 (referring to the whole of the Holston Conference). 46. Jonesboro Whig, 12 August 1840. See also Tennessee Whig, 8 August 1839; Jonesboro Whig, 13 September, 15 November 1848. The Rev. Thomas Stringfield, a Whig-Methodist newspaper editor at Nashville, similarly criticised fellow ministers who were openly Democratic in politics. Tennessee Whig, 14 November 1839, Knoxville Whig, 14 July 1849, 6 September 1851. 47. Tennessee Whig, 8 August, 14 November 1839, 8 January 1840; Jonesboro Whig, 29 July 1840; 5 August, 9 September, 2 December 1846; Knoxville Whig, 3 November 1849, 5 April 1851.


Revival and Religion since 1700

Brownlow's admiration for Nelson led him eventually to advise Methodist voters not to withhold their votes, and it was certainly understood by some that this intervention saved the political careers of Nelson and other Presbyterian Whigs who had sustained the Calvinistic Magazine. Significantly, however, Brownlow did desert the Whig candidate, Horace Maynard, in the congressional elections of 1853, to support a Democrat of Methodist parentage, mainly because Maynard, as a Presbyterian elder, had helped fund Ross's polemics. Maynard lost, partly as a result of Brownlow's stance.48 The conflict between Baptists and Methodists had even greater repercussions for party politics. Competing for souls, these churches seem also to have been divided over attitudes towards community 'improvement', with Methodists more strongly identified than Baptists with Whiggish enterprise in moral and economic affairs. Frank Richardson entered the itinerancy in Clinton circuit in eastern Tennessee in 1854; many years later, at the end of a long life as a preacher, he recalled that there he had found the animus between Methodists and Baptists 'the bitterest denominational prejudice I have ever known anywhere'. At Clinton itself, capital of Anderson County, 'they had Methodist and Baptist Churches, schools, taverns, stores, blacksmith shops, and ferries across the river. Like the Jews and Samaritans, they had no dealings with each other whatever.' In this part of the South, where social relations were not dominated by large plantations, or by the presence of a large black or Catholic population, conflicts between different evangelical traditions had the power to polarise whole communities. The more nearly 'pure' the conflict between the two religious groups (unmuddied, that is, by the cross-pressures of other loyalties), then the more nearly complete was the church-party alignment. Significantly, in Clinton, according to Richardson, 'Most of the Methodists were Whigs, and most of the Baptists were Democrats', and the preachers of both groups were also political leaders.49 48. Jonesboro Whig, 9 December 1846, 29 September (see also the hand-written marginal note of J.B. Brownlow in Library of Congress file copy), 6, 20 October 1847, 13 September, 1 November 1848; Knoxville Whig, 16 June 1849 (see J.B. Brownlow marginalia), 4, 18 June, 9, 16 July 1853. For the revival of 'Rossism' in the early 1850s and the call for the republication of The Great Iron Wheel by the Presbyterian Witness (Knoxville), see Knoxville Whig, 24 September 1853. Brownlow conceded that many New School Presbyterians did not share Ross's views, but the stance of the Presbyterian Witness nonetheless provoked renewed controversy. 49. Richardson, From Sunrise to Sunset, pp. 107-8; Tennessee Whig, 19 September, 14 November 1839, 8 January 1840; Jonesboro Whig, 29 July 1840, 14 October 1846; Knoxville Whig, 27 September 1856. G.R. Freeze, 'The Ethnocultural Thesis Goes South: Religio-Cultural Dimensions of Voting in North Carolina's Second Party System' (unpublished paper delivered at the Southern Historical Association Convention, November 1988), pp. 2-18, indicates a positive correlation in North Carolina between areas of Methodist strength and Whiggery, and between Baptist strength and Democracy; he also notes that the congruence between denomination and party was stronger in the poorer 'subsistence' counties than the richer 'market' ones. For instances of Democratic Methodists in the highlands, see Jonesboro Whig, 12 August 1840; for conflicts between Methodists and Baptists within Whiggery, see Brownlow's successful defence in a libel suit brought by the Baptist Lewis Reneau. Jonesboro Whig, 26 August, 14 October 1846. The full fusion of revivalism and electioneering arrived when revivalist ministers themselves took the stump for candidates or, like William T. Senter (Methodist minister and continued

Religious Revival and Political Renewal in Antebellum America


The greatest consonance between Protestant denominationalism and partisan loyalty in the region existed between Primitive Baptists and the Democratic party. These 'hard shell and iron sided Baptists', small in number but disproportionately strong in the southern highlands, stood squarely in the theological tradition of John Gill and the hyper-Calvinistic Baptists of eighteenth-century Britain.50 They believed, as one put it, 'that the whole church of Jesus Christ were (sic) given to him by God the Father in the covenant of redemption, and that they all were virtually saved in Christ before the world began'. Primitive, or 'Antimission', Baptists dismissed the 'Arminianism' of mainstream Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians: 'They are all the same with me', declared Josiah Lauderdale. 'I believe the Methodists preach the most consistent doctrine; they say you can get religion and lose it at pleasure; the others say, you can get it at pleasure and cannot lose it; and I think it is a bad rule that will not work both ways.' Strenuously opposed to 'effort', they denounced theological education, temperance and missionary societies, Sunday schools, revivals, new measures and anxious benches, all of which they regarded as 'the tools of popery' and the 'steam religion' of a 'money-hunting' priesthood. John Scallorn, a Primitive Baptist of Carroll County, Tennessee, saw Methodists and other revivalist Protestants as seeking a union of civil and ecclesiastical power at state and national level by which they would impose their (essentially Yankee) religious and moral code on the country; he feared 'an amalgamation, a consolidation of the popular sects under one general faith and form of government' and was in no doubt that through the Whig party, the agency of the revivalist Protestants, 'The pope will reign in America'.51 The Primitive Baptists constituted a special case, of course, but it was a case different in degree, not in kind: the political loyalties of members of other denominations were not unrelated to their churchmanship. It is a mistake to believe that, because the South enjoyed greater ethnic and religious homogeneity than the North, 'ethnocultural' conflicts did nothing to shape party politics there. Protestant evangelicals did not act as a harmonious mass. continued United States Congressmen), stood for office themselves. Tennessee Democrats complained that 'Parson Senter' delivered political speeches on a Saturday and then preached the gospel in the same places the following day. Jonesboro Whig, 9 May 1840. Brownlow was adamant that running clergy for political office was wholly legitimate in the case of the Whig party, since there was nothing in its creed 'to which the most devoted and rigid follower of the Saviour may not consistently and conscientiously subscribe'. Knoxville Whig, 3 November 1849. 50. There were 69,653 Antimission Baptists in the United States in 1844, one for every nine regular Baptists; by 1854 Primitives' numbers had fallen to 66,507. Their strength lay in the southern and western states. Biblical Recorder, 24 February 1854. The best studies of the Primitive Baptists in these years are B.C. Lambert, The Rise of the Anti-Mission Baptists: Sources and Leaders, 1800-1840 (New York, 1980); B. Wyatt-Brown, 'The Anti-Mission Movement in the Jacksonian South and West: A Study in Regional Folk Culture', Journal of Southern History, 36 (1970), pp. 501-29. Also useful is R.H. Pitman, ed., Biographical History of Primitive or Old School Ministers of the United States (Anderson, 1909). 51. Primitive Baptist, 5 (1840), pp. 70-71, 77-78, 120-21. Scallorn overstated the degree of understanding between the Missionary Baptists and the Methodists. See also ibid., 5 (1840), p. 279; 10(1845), pp. 131-32.


Revival and Religion since 1700

Elder B. changinh clothes before Ladies after immersing!

The eagerness with which party propagandists sought to come to terms with sectarianism clearly indicates their grasp of a potent political reality. Democrats readily played on the anti-Methodist sentiments of Baptists. At an open air political meeting in Jefferson County, Tennessee, in September 1856, their speaker, aware that his audience was composed largely of Baptists, produced a copy of Brownlow's Great Iron Wheel Examined. One of Brownlow's engravings showed a shameless Baptist preacher, just out of the river, pulling on his clothes in front of embarrassed females and the newly baptised. Producing these 'obscene pictures', the Democrat 'asked the numerous Baptist voters present, if they would vote with their enemies'.52 One further example will serve. Zebulon Vance told a visit he paid to a backwoods settlement in North Carolina (probably in the western mountains) during his first campaign for the United States Congress in the 1850s. He did not know the people, and when the elderly leader of the crowd asked him what church he belonged to, Vance responded uncertainly. He was not a member of any church, but he knew religion shaped politics in these settlements. 'Well, you see', he replied, 'my grandfather came from Scotland, and you know that over in Scotland everybody is a Presbyterian.' He paused for effect, but no one stirred. 'But my grandmother came from England, and over there everybody

52. Knoxville Whig, 27 September 1856.

Religions Revival and Political Renewal in Antebellum America


belongs to the Episcopal church.' There was again no response. 'But my father was born in this country in a Methodist settlement, and so he grew up a Methodist.' When there was still no positive reaction, Vance concluded, 'But my good old mother was a Baptist, and it's my opinion that a man has got to go under the water to get to heaven.' The leader seized his hand and said, 'Boys, he'll do good and you may vote for him, I thought he looked like a Baptist'." The religious renewal promised by Methodist revivalism exerted a more lasting influence over Brownlow and his circle than the promise of political renewal proffered by the Whigs. Through the later 1840s Brownlow developed a more semi-detached relationship with his once-beloved party as he watched it backsliding from its original standards and principles. He charged it with advancing mere placemen and office-seekers — 'up-start politicians, and would-be whigs'. When it failed to nominate his idol Clay in 1848 he refused to take the stump for Taylor. Its limp response to calls for developing the common school system, its mixed response to the question of internal improvements, its prevarication on the temperance issue and its overtures to the burgeoning immigrant Catholic population all served to corrode Brownlow's perception of the party as the repository of evangelical Protestant values. When the Whig national convention in 1852 nominated General Winfield Scott as its presidential candidate, and not the meritorious incumbent and representative of southern interests, Millard Fillmore, Brownlow exploded in rage. Scott's supporters he dismissed as hypocrites: 'if rascals of this class present themselves for admission into the TRUE WHIG CHURCH, in which we claim to be a regular Class-leader, we will only suffer them to come in on trial!'^4 The campaign only reinforced his view that Scott was untrustworthy over the Catholic question and would sell out southern interests to northern freesoilers and abolitionists. Brownlow's reactions were symptomatic of a widespread malaise within Whiggery, for the party's fragile unity was under great pressure from the late 1840s. Its leaders' prevarication on a variety of issues represented an (ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to prevent a centrifugal explosion. Two sets of stresses in particular contributed to its splintering. One related to the future of slavery in the Union, the other to sustaining a Protestant republic in the face of mass immigration. Neither would have been forced onto the political agenda in quite the way they were had it not been for the aroused religious sensibilities of American evangelicals. Men like Brownlow were ready to jettison Whiggery for the Know-Nothing, or American, party in the mid 1850s as the political force most likely to hinder the ambitions of the papacy, sustain common schools, promote a prohibitionist Maine law and (in the view 53. D.B. Parkers, 'I Thought He Looked Like a Baptist', The State, July 1987, p. 7. 54. Jonesboro Whig, 1 December 1847, 23 February, 2 August 1848; Knoxville Whig, 24 July 1852.


Revival and Religion since 1700

of its southern supporters) maintain a slave-holding Union. In 1860, following the Know-Nothings' demise, Brownlow carried his revivalist energies into the Constitutional Union party of the ex-Whig John Bell, to combat the twin devils of northern antislavery and southern disunionism. Another substantial element in the Whig party, from the quite different revivalist culture of New England and its huge diaspora in New York, Ohio and states further west, tended to share Brownlow's views on drink, schools and Catholics; but they additionally, and in contrast to their southern counterparts, built not a proslavery but an antislavery edifice on the foundations of benevolent thought established by Charles Finney and others during the Second Great Awakening. The story of the emergence and nourishing of the political antislavery movement cannot be rehearsed here. But it is worth stressing the massive debt of the Liberty and Free Soil parties to revivalist Protestants, for their leadership, grass-roots support, crusading style and modus operandi. In due course the Republicans were to inherit the energy and religious enthusiasm of this political tradition: even more than the Whigs would they deserve the mantle of the 'Christian party in politics'.55 Benjamin Adams, an itinerant Methodist minister in one of the New York conferences, was a representative of this extended religious culture, remote in space and substance from that of Brownlow's Appalachia. The 1856 presidential campaign found him actively engaged both in soul-saving at revival meetings and in speaking for John C. Fremont at Republican rallies. The entries in his diary, unselfconsciously juxtaposing spiritual introspection, reflections on his revival meetings and comments on his political work, suggest that he found these activities entirely compatible. On the weekend before polling day he tended to penitents at the altar in a sequence of revival meetings at Bridgeport: 'The Lord came in power among the people and our souls rejoiced in the Lord . . . May this work roll on in power and God's name be glorified among his people.' Three days later he used another, complementary weapon to advance the Kingdom: 'Election. Today the battle is to be fought between right & wrong. I went to the polls and did my duty . . . May God aid the right!'56 Fremont lost, of course, but the promise of religious and political renewal which Adams identified in his campaign survived his defeat to be resurrected four years later. It was precisely that potent expectation of moral and political regeneration which would drive both Union and Confederacy forwards into their bloody struggle. It is no exaggeration to describe that conflict as the apotheosis of the crusading Protestant revivalism of the Second Great Awakening.

55. I develop this theme (and others touched upon in this essay) in Evangelicals and Politics in Antebellum America (New Haven, 1993). 56. Adams, 'Diary', 1, 4 November 1856 and passim. For the conjunction of prohibition and revivals in Indiana in 1855, see Western Christian Advocate, 21 February 1855.


Architects in Connexion: Four Methodist Generations Clyde Binfield

In the spring of 1908 a family solicitor concerned himself with the state of his grandparents' grave in a Surrey churchyard. The tomb was a bulky affair since it had to encase two coffins lying side by side above ground, but now, after seventy-five years, it was in a poor way. Part of an end panel had caved in, the cement casing was dropping off, and the exposed brickwork was badly cracked. Indeed the 'whole thing appears to have settled down'. So the family solicitor busily coaxed contributions from a baker's dozen of his cousins. They responded from Leeds and Sheffield, Lincolnshire and Lincoln City, Stamford, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Tonbridge, Wandsworth, Woking and Chiddingfold, some willingly, some helpfully, some amidst the chronic pressures of the middle classes. One cousin, firm in the common sense of a large Lincolnshire farm, was sure that the time had come for a much smaller tomb altogether since these old bones could not now object to resting underground. An architect cousin conducted a site visit. He was satisfied as to the cost and wrote breezily: I am sure we ought to be very much obliged to you for bringing this matter before us ... I am quite willing to pay my share and I am sure you will do everything for the best . . . I wish to goodness I could sell my St Leonard's House and then you would soon hear further from me!

So it was done; and our solicitor wrote in his matter-of-fact way that the restored tomb, 'although not a handsome structure, is at least solid and substantial and will not require attention for a very long time'.1 A commonplace family episode had been dutifully closed, at least for the time being, and a grave for vanished values had been restored as a monument to living aspirations.

1. Correspondence to and from P.W. Pocock, The Beeches, Egham Hill, 13 April 1908-19 January 1909, in the possession of the late Mrs R.M. Dunk of Sheffield, to whom I am especially indebted for much patient help in unravelling her family's Methodist ancestry. Hereafter Dunk MSS.



Revival and Religion since 1700

What one cousin called 'the Tomb of our dear respected ancestors', introduces us to the lively outworking of a section of society distinguishable from the late eighteenth century to the mid twentieth. It was an English section, with some Scottish incomers and some imperial outliers. It was middle class. Its core was professional with a commercial and agricultural penumbra. It was London, Leeds and Lincolnshire, London being taken to embrace the home counties and the south coast as well as the grand suburban sweep from Hampstead round and down to Beckenham. Three things held this connexion together: family, property and religion. Reinforced by its property, moulded and extended by its education and justified by its religion, the connexion was announced by its cultural similarity. Here were people who, whether or not they liked each other, knew each other or at least knew of each other, and thought like each other even when they reacted against each other. They also looked like each other. Such connexion, at least from the Reformation until the last thirty years, was inevitable in English society. Its religious accent was a necessary consequence of the fragmentation of that English Christianity which remained nonetheless coterminous with English society. Within the last thirty years English Christianity has ceased even notionally to be coterminous with English society and the sort of network which is explored here has largely ceased to exist. It survives among some of the older generation. It may be simulated by the enthusiasms of family history societies. But such simulation is artifice. For the property which made possible an entire way of life has been dissipated by the fiscal policies of successive governments, and the education which then shaped that way of life has become too diffuse for it to play the same part in forming a new connexional culture, and the commercial and professional worlds now have complexities which place them beyond family convenience. And the religious cement has gone. Is it then past all reviving? It is this essay's purpose to do for one English family network what that Edwardian solicitor (who was part of this connexion) did for his grandparents' tomb: to turn a grave into a monument; to commemorate living aspirations; to chart the social and professional consolidation of men and women who would have led significantly different lives had they not been Wesleyan Methodists, formed in revival, each one born again. If the days of their network were numbered on social or economic grounds they were no less numbered on religious grounds for one cannot counterfeit felt religion. But to recognise mortality is not to deny life. This connexion's vital spark was spiritual. That may be explored in several ways: through the women, for example, who transmitted the connexional faith, or the ministers who phrased and shaped it. Here the emphasis is on the laymen who announced it to the world. This network's laymen included accountants, brokers, lawyers, doctors, oilmen, engineers and farmers, but their foundation lay in property; four generations of them were literally architects in revival, thanks to those 'dear respected ancestors', William Fuller Pocock and Fanny (Willmer) Pocock.

Architects in Connexion: Four Methodist Generations


William Fuller Pocock (1779-1849) was not quite self-made. It is possible that his grandfather, the first of a line of five Williams, was a schoolmaster.2 His father, the second William (1750-1835), was a master carpenter turned cabinetmaker and builder, sporadically prosperous but uniformly respected as all three. This William's connexions penetrated the higher artisanate. A brotherin-law, Henry Emlyn, was surveyor to Windsor Castle; a nephew-in-law was architect to Eton College; a son was pavior to the City of London. Indeed by 1811 one son lived in Cavendish Square, a second in Knightsbridge and a third concentrated on the invalid furniture and telescope dining-tables which formed the staple of the family's cabinet business in Covent Garden. Or, rather, it would have been better if he had indeed concentrated on dining-tables. In fact he overtraded and, like his brothers, he speculated in property. He crashed in 1820. Not all the Pococks crashed with him but all had to adapt to changed circumstances. Three traits marked those who rode the storm: independence of mind; Wesley an Methodism; and a fascination with property. The three interacted more naturally than might be thought. The family's independence emerges — at least in Pocock lore — with William the master carpenter when, working in a barrister's chambers and brusquely asked to put coals on the fire, he worked on, ignoring the command until asked again in a different tone: 'Mr carpenter, be so good as to put some coals on the fire'. To which he now replied: 'Certainly. Were you addressing me? I thought you were speaking to some servant.'3 The family's Methodism emerges with Hannah the master carpenter's wife. It began with her conversion in 1770: 'Her soul was, as it were, dissolved in love to Him.'4 She, who was then sixteen, would be sixty years a Methodist and die with a hymn on her lips. Hannah Fuller was a persistent woman; 'she may have been thought by some to suffer her zeal to overcome her prudence'.5 In High Wycombe she persuaded her betrothed to attend Methodist meetings. Settled in London, their loyalty lay in City Road whither Hannah 'found her way to the early services . . . for several years by help of a penny candle'.6 Come prosperity and life in Leyton, it was Hannah who made a Methodist chapel the condition of their removal. There Wesley visited them.7 If Hannah's was the devotion, William's was the responsibility. He helped build City Road. He became a trustee of the chapel at Knott's Green which in 1822-23 replaced the little Leyton chapel provided at Hannah's insistence and hallowed by Wesley's presence.8 Such responsibility proliferated with 2. W.W. Pocock, In Memoriam William Fuller Pocock F.R.I.B.A., 1779-1849 (priv. 1883) p. 10. The bulk of the following section relies on this source and references are only given to direct quotations. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid., p. 39. 5. Ibid. 6. Ibid., p. 9. 7. Ibid. 8. I am indebted to the Rev. K.B. Garlick for this information, as for much else about the Pococks' Methodism.

William Pocock 1726-58


WILLIAM = Hannah Fuller 1750-1835 d. 1830


Rev. George Pocock 1788-1875


Rev. Frederick = Harriet Pearce Pocock 1819-89


Mary Anne = Fuller Pocock 1812-1901

= Fanny Willmer 1782-1833

SETH SMITH = Elizabeth Rose 1791-1860 1791-1852

Rev. Robert WILLIAM = Sophia

Thomas = Elizabeth

Maxwell Macbrair 1808-74

Willmer Pocock 1817-89


Archbutt d. 1889

Rose Smith 1816-85

William Seth = Catherine Cartwriglu Smith 1824-87





Rev .Thomas Percy Willmer = Jessie Manon = James Maud Mary = Samuel Willmer Pocock Pocock Mabel Pocock Hill Pocock McAulay Gurney 1846-1929 1856-1941 1860-1932 b.1853 b.1846 1859-1934 1856-1920 (nephew of Rev. Alex McAulay d. 1890) PERCY WILLMER POCOCK


Mabel Rose = Dr Benjamin Pocock Randall Vickers 1882-1985

Grace = Marian 1893-1975

Right Rev. Leslie Hunter 1890-1983 (Bishop of Sheffield, son of Rev. John Hunter, Congregational Minister)

Architects in Connexion: Four Methodist Generations


that chapel's architect, their son William Fuller Pocock. Inherited before it was experienced and nourished successively at Leyton, Great Queen Street, Chelsea and Sloane Terrace, it intensified from 1814. At first a solid member of his society, sitting in the front pew of Sloane Terrace's gallery, loyal to class meeting, he became a busy circuit layman, circuit steward, founder of the local missionary auxiliary and of the local branch of the Bible Society, acting as its cash secretary and working his way up the layman's connexional ladder, sitting on the committee of privileges and the committees of the Theological Institute and the Missionary Society, helping to launch the Watchman, active in the Centenary Movement. Here was an instinctive Wesleyan, devoted to 'that form and system of religious life' and rewarded with Jabez Bunting's ultimate accolade: 'he knew no one who had bestowed so much unrequited labour upon Methodists as Mr Pocock'.9 Temperament played its part in this. In his wife's view Fuller Pocock was over-anxious; in his son's he had 'but little natural buoyancy'. He was a man whose secular calling, 'placing him . . . in a position to require obedience and submission, and oft times eliciting subservience, may have induced an appearance and even a momentary assumption of sternness'. But in his thirties he too 'was truly converted, felt the love of God shed abroad in his heart, and experienced such a change as humbled him in his own estimation and made him esteem others better than himself. There resulted 'unswerving performance at the family altar' — and the importunate busybodying of a good man: anxious for the best interests and salvation of his neighbours and acquaintance, he felt it to be his duty, when opportunity was afforded him, to speak a word of admonition to those with whom business brought him into contact, if he perceived that they were living without God in the world.

Impressions thus made were not always easy, as his son and biographer (who inherited these traits) realised: 'Indeed, on some occasions, his love of brevity and the quickness of his apprehension rendered him almost impatient, and a little rough.'10 Jabez Bunting was not the only Wesleyan preaching prince to value Fuller Pocock's measure. Adam Clarke was another. Pocock altered Clarke's house at Pinner and Clarke turned Pocock into a living sermon illustration. Clarke's theme was God's ownership as Creator: 'There's friend Pocock,' remarked Clarke, indicating the Pococks ranged in their gallery front pew, 'if he makes a design for a building it is his own because he created it.'11 Friend Pocock's professional creation was as competent as his ownership was shrewd. His transition from master-craftsman to professional gentleman was pattern-book,

9. Pocock, In Memoriam, p. 61. 10. Ibid., pp. 59, 61, 62. 11. Ibid., pp. 40-41.


Revival and Religion since 1700

carefully directed rather than preordained. His qualities were steadiness, careful judgement and a modicum of all-round talent. He was neither prima donna nor Renaissance man. He knew his proper place as well as his proper worth and he used that knowledge to social and commercial advantage. His private and business lives intersected, full of sensible family or connexional or City or military contacts. His start was commonplace, charged more by arrogance than by romance. He was apprenticed to his father to conserve continuity in the carpentry and building business. Then, one day, walking through Moorfields, he noticed the deference paid on a building site to a man with an ivory rule. This convinced him that architecture or surveying was the business for him.12 The father grumbled but the son persevered and at the turn of 1796 he entered the office of Beazley of Blackfriars Road, the man whom Soane pipped at the post for rebuilding the Bank of England. In 1801 he was working for Thomas Hardwick and, although for some years to come he worked for both Beazley and Hardwick and in 1802 he secured a Student's Ticket at the Royal Academy, he was from 1801-2 effectively his own master, working from 26 Southampton Street, the family's cabinet-making stamping ground between the Strand and Covent Garden.13 Pocock's career was now a cautiously cumulative strategy. In 1801 he met an ironmonger's daughter, Fanny Willmer of Petersfield (1782-1833), with whom he reached an understanding in 1802 and whom he married in 1809. She came from the mainstream middle classes of small-town Hampshire and West Sussex. The Willmers were connected to the Cobdens, but the Cobdens were then on their way down while the Willmers were on their way up. In later years Pocock designed country and suburban houses for his wife's Willmer kinsmen. In retrospect he regretted the long caution of their betrothal but at the time it met the strategic need, part of an advance on all fronts. To further that advance, he also looked for recognition from his peers. Hence the Freedom of the City and the Carpenters' Company in 1801. He became a liveryman in 1809, Renter Warden in 1837, Master in 1840. In this context must be set his professional work for the Distillers' Company from 1806, the Leathersellers' from 1819 (notably Leathersellers' Hall), and the Brewers' Company from 1821 to 1839. The Brewers were especially useful clients. Pocock provided them with schools and almshouses, he renovated their hall and he developed their real estate, particularly in St Pancras. This City work brought him into the first waves of railway mania since lines planned across clients' land needed an architect-surveyor's eye as well as a lawyer's. Moreover his apprenticeship as a connexional committee man made

12. Ibid., p. 12.

13. In Memoriam is the prime source for his career, to be cautiously supplemented by Blackmanbury, 9, nos. 3-6 Qune-December 1977), pp. 74-76, 106-7; H.M. Colvin, Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840 (London, 1978), pp. 649-50; D.N.B.

Architects in Connexion: Four Methodist Generations


him an admirable City committee man. Naturally, therefore, he also became a Member of the Institute of British Architects in 1837. That was three years after its inception and the year in which it became 'Royal'.14 He joined its council in 1845. To company and institute must be added the parade ground. Between 1803 and 1815 the volunteers were Fuller Pocock's consuming passion. Sunday parades held no terrors for him. He proceeded from sergeant-major to ensign of the Royal East London Militia in 1808, to lieutenant in 1810 and captain in 1815. He mounted guard at docks, parades, balls and banquets. He did duty at Fox's funeral and at the trials of Bellingham and Burdett. And his commissions consequently included the Royal East London Militia's armoury in 1810 and its headquarters on Bunhill Row in 1823. Perhaps his military bearing (and useful friendships, helped on by the Emlyn connexion, with the stewards and agents of court and country grandees) helped him with the aristocratic patronage which was somehow his from the first. Captain Bosanquet (presentation plate), the Duke of Bedford (a monument on a Welsh property), Lord Dungannon (London work), Sir John Honeywood (a country house in Kent), Sir John Earner (work in Ireland), Lord Egremont (hence the entree to Petworth), General Taylor (a house in Chertsey), were invaluable patrons when it came to building up a comprehensive practice. The gentleman's houses (Sir Hubert Taylor's Fan Grove, Henry Warner's Hornsey Priory, Henry Willmer's Little Priory and Down Place, Sir John Honeywood's Evington) were icing on the cake of alteration, extensions, stables; of business premises in Paternoster Row, and warehousing for Smith and Baber's Knightsbridge floorcloth factory, or real estate in Bayswater, or schools for Virginia Water or a dispensary for Chelsea. There was always the staple of surveying and property management; and for the man who designed Leathersellers' Hall (1819-22) and planned to improve Holborn Hill (1834), there was the ultimate dream, since he entered the competition for the Houses of Parliament in 1835. There were also the private property interests virtually forced on him by his father's trade, his brothers' speculations and his own profession, together with his helpful connexions and the need to provide for three daughters and two sons. From the first he had helped his father in the building line. He began in his own right with an acre in Camberwell in 1805, followed by a freehold in Leyton in 1806, but the key to his continued prosperity was the speculation in Lord Dungannon's west London estates which he began in 1811 and extended at regular intervals. He turned the grounds of Powis House into Trevor Terrace, starting a brick-works, building Nos. 5 to 10 on his own account, and moving into No. 10 in 1826. By the time of his

14. The first meeting of the Institute was 4 June 1834; its official opening meeting was 15 June 1835; it received its Royal Charter of Incorporation in January 1837 and thereafter styled itself the 'Royal Institute' although it was not given the formal right to that style until 1866. B. Kaye, The Development of the Architectural Profession in Britain (London, 1960), pp. 79-82.


Revival and Religion since 1700

death he had a respectable income from rack rented property in both east and west ends of London. He had also developed something of a pioneering role in the new world of building societies. The Chelsea Building Society (1842; London's first), the Star Life Assurance Society (1843), the Pimlico Building Society (1844) and the Star Fire Insurance Society (1845), each counted him as a founder. He regretted his involvement in the last. Few successful nineteenth-century architects escaped ecclesiastical work. Given his background Fuller Pocock's Wesleyan work might seem inevitable but it seems only to have become a significant part of his practice after 1815. Peace, the birth of sons and his conversion from nominal to felt Wesleyan Methodism all coincided. The pew now firmly overtook the parade ground. Not all the new work was Methodist. In 1810 he worked on Ley ton parish church and in 1837 he did Christ Church, Virginia Water; there were also parsonages at Clymping and Hailsham and repairs at Binfield rectory. On his own property in Brompton he let the land for the Congregationalists' Trevor Chapel (1816) and a year later he designed Ranelagh Chapel, just off Sloane Square, for the Presbyterians. But the bulk of his work was Wesleyan. Some of it was domestic: commissions for fellow worshippers at Sloane Terrace like the Brosters (Miss Broster was 'a Christian of the first water')15 or the Misses Horn of Cadogan Place; or extensive improvements at Gunnersbury Park for Thomas Farmer, one of the connexion's lay magnificoes. Mostly it was chapel work: designs for the overseas mission field, chapels in Ley ton (1822-3), Kentish Town and Bayswater (1828), Stanhope Street and Croydon (1829), and Kensington (1836). There was also institutional work: unexecuted designs for Wesley College, Sheffield, and the theological college at Richmond, Surrey; alterations and reconstructions to the Wesleyan Theological Institute at Hoxton, the Wesleyan Book Room on City Road (1838) and the Wesleyan Centenary Hall on Bishopsgate (1839-40). Fuller Pocock's Centenary Hall, cleverly converted out of the City of London Tavern, crowned his connexional work. He was now a man of mark. Fuller's son, proud of the progression in two generations from journeyman to master and from builder's shop to architect's studio, but reflecting honestly on the ambition and 'some of the foibles of a self-made man', felt that the prosperity was 'not perhaps so large as outward appearances might lead others to conclude'.16 He was equally honest in assessing his father's quality. It was not the easiest thing for a high Victorian to judge a man whose best designs were Grecian and whose precedent for one suburban essay in 'Tudor Gothic' was Fonthill Abbey,17 so he concentrated on Fuller's soundness as a planner ('he felt his feet firm on the solid ground of utility'),18 and his part in raising the public profile of his art. 15. Pocock, In Memoriam, p. 46. 16. Ibid., pp. 65-66. 17. This was Henry Warner's Hornsey Priory, Muswell Hill (1823; demolished c. 1902), ibid., p. 64. 18. Ibid., p. 65.

Fuller Pocock's Labourer's Cottage, 'supposed to be placed on the summit of an abrupt brow: it might be made to bear the appearance of an Hermitage . . . still leaving sufficient room for the residence of a Peasant and family'.

A Cottage Orne, offering 'the necessary conveniences for persons of refined manners and habits', including a trellis 'for the support of the shooting tendrils of the vine, the gay luxuriance of the Passion Flower', from W. Fuller Pocock's Architectural Designs for Rustic Cottages (1807).


Revival and Religion since 1700

The basis for that lay in four books: Architectural Designs for Rustic Cottages . . . Villas etc. (1807, 1819, 1823), Modern Finishings for Rooms (1811, 1823, 1837), Designs for Churches and Chapels (1819, 1835) and Observations on Bond in Brickwork (1839). The first 'manifested a keen appreciation of the picturesque, and in some of the designs a true spirit of Greek art'; the second showed 'much feeling of the Greek treated with freedom and originality'.19 Certainly their style had an estate agent's picturesque pomposity. Pocock's Rustic Cottages ranged from a woodman's lodging 'supposed to be placed on the summit of an abrupt brow' and 'made to bear the appearance of an Hermitage . . . still leaving sufficient room for the residence of a Peasant and family', through a Cabdne Ornee for such as love The cool, the fragrant, and the silent hour To meditation due

and a Ferme Ornee of 'rural and dressed appearance' fit for a gentleman determined to farm his own property, to amply bedroomed villas in the Grecian, Italian and 'antient English' manner, among them ' a convenient and characteristic dwelling for a Clergyman'.20 His prefatory ruminations gamely took in 'the light and airy structures of the Chinese', the 'massive and stupendous temples of the Thebans', the 'lofty Pagodas and magnificent Fanes of India'.21 Alas, here was no Bannister Fletcher before his time, for this was the stuff of shrewd advertisement, and Fanny Pocock, for one, married at last, made use of her family's Sussex and Hampshire connexions to send a copy of Rustic Cottages to Lord Egremont. He replied from Petworth with gratifying courtesy: as far as I am able to judge of the designs, they appear to me to be highly creditable to Mr Pocock's taste and skill in architecture. If any opportunity of serving him in his profession should present itself, I shall certainly avail myself of it ... 22

There was another sort of shrewdness, however, in Rustic Cottages: It has often occurred to me that the style of many of the Oriental Buildings bears a strong affinity to our Gothic structures, and I have sometimes employed myself in combining the outlines and proportions of the former with the decorations of the latter.23

19. Ibid., p. 64. 20. W.F. Pocock, Architectural Designs for Rustic Cottages (London, 1807; repr. 1972), pp. 27, 29, 31, 32, 33. The context for Pocock's foray into publication is given in M.S. Briggs, The English Farmhouse (London, 1953), pp. 199ff. 21. Ibid., p. 3. 22. Letter of 23 December 1809 in Pocock, In Memoriam, pp. 24-25. 23. Idem, Rustic Cottages, p. 4.

Architects in Connexion: Four Methodist Generations


Here lay the Sleeping Beauty of aptness for purpose, awaiting only the kiss of some High Gothic princess. At least Pocock bothered to go to Fonthill to see that fantasy for himself, taking his client with him, when he had something Gothic in mind for Henry Warner's new villa at Muswell Hill.24 A more recent critic discerned behind the 'Hard, pinched lancet Gothic' and stock brick of Christ Church, Virginia Water, 'No attempt at accurate detail, but perhaps an attempt to reproduce Gothic structural hardness'.25 Fuller Pocock knew perfectly well that his Grecian or Roman villas were not temples magicked from some Mediterranean climate. They were not even Leptis Magna recreated by Virginia Water with every convenience for upwardly mobile businessmen. But if the principles of their style could be traced back to source we might at least 'think in the same manner as they did, who we find succeeded in giving that expression to their work which their nature demanded'.26 In this spirit he was entirely happy for a castle provided it was where a medieval castle really would have been in pre-gunpowder days, or for homelier buildings 'of materials the most easy to be procured on the spot whereon they were erected', their style 'formed in their own country', unadorned and regular for plain, open land but more fanciful in 'bold and romantic situations', their art tempered always to the natural.27 Pocock's labourers' cottages too were firmly local, in rough stone or flint or brick or weatherboarding, naturally accented with a good stone lime colour wash mixed with wet gravel, and with gardens for home industry fit for a strong country's soundest investment, a 'bold and numerous peasantry'.28 Here the world of Blaise Castle and its hamlet, even of Brighton's Royal Pavilion, foreshadowed that of Kelmscott, even of New Earswick. It predicated a moral architecture whose need was amply demonstrated in June 1846 when Pocock encountered quite different cottages on an Irish visit: The woman, fowls, pig, and cow, all in one room. The bedstead and straw mattress without covering stood against the wall opposite the entrance, the fireplace was at the right hand end of the house, the pig was littered at the head of the bed near the fire, and the cow at the foot.29

Fuller Pocock practised in his family what he preached to the world at large. His brother-in-law, Henry Willmer (1792-1867), was an increasingly successful physician with a Marylebone practice from 1813, a house in Baker Street which Pocock designed for him in 1819, and a series of villas ornees

24. This was in 1823. Warner's house was an important commission since it cost some £10,000 and took several years to build. Pocock, In Memoriam, p. 33. 25. I. Nairn and N. Pevsner, revised by Bridget Cherry, The Buildings of England: Surrey (2nd edn, Harmondsworth, 1971; repr. 1982), p. 493. 26. My italics. Pocock, Rustic Cottages, p. 13. 27. Ibid., pp. 14-18, 28. Ibid., pp. 5-8. 29. Pocock, In Memoriam, p. 56.


Revival and Religion since 1700

which Pocock also designed for him in Highgate (1826), Harting (c. 1835) and Stoke Poges (c. 1828). The first of these, however, was Clock Case, a hilltop property bordering Windsor Great Park on the Southampton turnpike road and described in its sale particulars as ideal for a 'Gentleman's Cottage or Villa'.30 Here, 'Commanding on all sides, a great extent of Romantic Scenery, Embracing Particularly the Falls and Lakes of Virginia Water', were sixty-six acres of Crown land with a further fifty-nine freehold acres offering 'Numerous Sites for Speculation'. Henry Willmer went to look at it in May 1822, taking Fuller Pocock and Fuller's brother George with him. On 13 June Willmer bought it and Fuller repaired and enlarged Clock Case itself in the following year. But Willmer was a restless man of property and he soon sold Clock Case, reputedly to the king, since the house's view was so commanding that ladies of the court refused to go on the lake until it was royal property once more.31. Fuller Pocock, however, was hooked and in 1823 he bought adjoining land at Callow Hill. There, from 1825, he built his own cottage orne, Glenridge (the name was Fanny's choice). At first, with its little Gothic windows and its lead glazing, it was what it set out to be, a cottage, indeed a bungalow, of four rooms and a washhouse, enough for the Pococks to reserve the best room and bedroom for themselves with the rest for the resident man and his wife. In fact, over succeeding years, cushioned by its generous acreage and 'the sweetness of the old-fashioned walled garden, the lawns and rose beds, and the woodlands', Glenridge grew like Topsy, 'one of those pleasantly uneven country houses with spacious wings thrown out on either side', its gables, pines and rhododendrons better caught in its ladies' watercolours than in surviving snapshots.32 Since three generations of Pococks enjoyed Glenridge it became a focus for family connexion. One of Fuller Pocock's granddaughters reflected that her parents' generation of Pococks had 'at least sixty cousins', most of them in London's wider hinterland, several of them with their own variants of Glenridge — Silvermere over at Cobham, Tangley down near Guildford, Branch Hill Lodge up in Hampstead.33 Although Silvermere and Tangley were Congregational households and Branch Hill was Anglican, Glenridge was for as long as it remained a private house, a Wesleyan Methodist one. The essence of such Methodism can be distilled from a mid century reminiscence of Sloane Terrace: The congregation was large, and the strength of it lay in the excellent, steadygoing, middle-class families who were regular attendants, supported its various

30. Sales particulars for the Clock Case Estate, 1819; Dunk MSS. 31. Pocock, In Memoriam, p. 34. 32. [Grace Hunter], Maud Mary McAulay: A Memoir (London, 1939), p. 9; undated brochure, Glenridge Hotel R.A.C. 33. [Hunter], Maud Mary McAulay, p. 10.

Architects in Connexion: Four Methodist Generations


organisations, and took part in Christian work of one kind and another. In their social life they were kindly and hospitable, and we young people found among them many friends and pleasant acquaintances. There was nothing very heroic or high-pitched in the spiritual life of the church, but it was honest and wholesome. If the rapturous note of the earliest Methodism was no longer heard — and what church has the dew of its youth for ever upon it? — and if the myriad activities of the present day were not yet in being, I have good reason to know that the Methodism of the early 'fifties had something with which to appeal to a young and eager soul, something to offer that could satisfy its desire. The service that it rendered to me was its insistence upon a definite and decisive acceptance of Jesus Christ as my Saviour and Master. I must graft on to Him, and henceforth draw the strength of my life from Him Who is the Life.34

That atmosphere had been formed by Fuller Pocock's generation and consolidated by his children's. Those children married satisfactorily. Of the girls, the youngest married a Pocock cousin; the eldest married a Trevor Terrace neighbour, a barrister supposedly a nobleman's natural son by his housekeeper — Fuller Pocock had his reservations about him;35 the second married a Wesley an minister. Of the sons, Thomas Willmer married into Trevor Chapel and William Willmer married into Sloane Terrace. William's wife, Sophia Archbutt (1814-89), was the daughter of 'a shrewd, quaint and energetic Yorkshireman' who had done well in London. One of her brothers was the solicitor to Fuller Pocock's Pimlico Building Society. Her family 'made a conspicuous figure in the chapel, commonly filling two pews, especially as the father acted on his expressed belief, that "fine feathers make fine birds'".36 It was Sophia who had ensured that the Archbutts made their spiritual home at Sloane Terrace: She was a woman of striking personality, strong mind and will, a meet help-mate for her husband whose idiosyncrasies she understood perfectly, and influenced. Strangers did not always see her best side, but Mrs Pocock was a truly good woman . . ,37

That is from her husband's obituary, an unblinking assessment of exemplary, indeed extraordinary, candour celebrating the achievement as well as the passing of that formidable couple's Methodist generation.

34. F.W. Macdonald, As a Tale that is Told: Recollections of Many Years (London, 1919), p. 53. I am indebted to Mr Robert Rose for this reference. 35. George Goldsmith of 6 Trevor Terrace; George's father was supposedly Earl Carew. Blackmanbury, 9, nos. 5-6, October-December 1972, p. 107. As old Mrs Willmer wrote, 16 October 1844: 'I am sorry you see so little of George G. Little things ought not to make us differ. I think he is a good husband'. Pocock, In Memoriam, p. 55. 36. 'Memorial sketch of Mrs W.W. Pocock of Wandsworth', Christian Minister, 12 June 1889, p. 809. 37. 'Death of Mr William Willmer Pocock, B.A.' undated cutting, 1899, Dunk MSS [Methodist Recorder, Thursday 21 September 1899].


Revival and Religion since 1700

William Willmer Pocock (1813-99) was Fuller Pocock's elder son, heir to his practice, his temperament and his faith, although not to Glenridge. His life spanned the Methodisms of Jabez Bunting and Hugh Price Hughes with himself as lay metropolitan activist rather than third-generation observer, for here was a man whose religious and family connexions, his spiritual and secular professions, were scarcely to be disengaged. He was born in Knightsbridge, in December 1813, in 'a good old house that long ago was swept away by the speculative builder'38 — which was why his father had leased that good old house in the first place. His education was at the brewers' school, Aldenham — but then 'his father was the Company's architect'. More surprising, perhaps, was his further education at King's College London where he gained a prize for mathematics and a silver medal for Greek. He was one of London's first graduates and King's College's first associates: seals of a bookishness which he put to exhaustive use in later years.39 King's College was a pleasantly calculated interlude. In 1831 William entered his father's office and his career developed into a gratifying extension of his father's: Associate of the R.I.B.A. 1837, Fellow 1846 ('was, we believed at the time of his death . . . the oldest member of the Institute of British Architects'40); Master of the Carpenters' Company in 1883. His office, too, was off the Strand, at 35 Craven Street from 1859. For a while he had two partners, George Corfe and Edward William Parker,41 and his assistants briefly included James Cubitt (1836-1912), a Baptist minister's son whose chapels were bold adventures in High Gothic, and the Methodist J.L. Ball (1852-1933) whose forte lay in the Arts and Crafts with which his generation set out to civilise Birmingham.42 W.W. Pocock, in short, was a man of mark like his father, almost despite himself: 'Possessing the tenacity peculiar to his profession and strengthened by his personal doggedness, he did not always please his clients. His chapels were not universally admired.' But he was shrewd at a bargain. He knew where the railways were likely to need land in a few years, and before a fabulous price was asked for it. He bought wisely and he sold well . . . The history of his success which will never be fully written, was the history of sagacity.

38. Ibid. Subsequent quotations are from this obituary unless otherwise indicated. 39. Pocock, In Memoriam, p. 42; The Builder, 30 September 1899, pp. 308-309. 40. The Builder, 30 September 1899, p. 308. 41. From 1865 to 1872; notes to R.I.B.A. MSS Collection. I am indebted to J. Franklin for this reference. 42. For James Cubitt (1836-1912), who was not related to the building Cubitts of Belgravia, see C. B infield, 'A Chapel and its Architect: James Cubitt and Union Chapel, Islington, 1879-1899', Diana Wood, ed., The Church and the Arts, Studies in Church History, 28, (Oxford: 1992), pp. 417-48; for Joseph Lancaster Ball, who married into the Methodist building Barnsleys of Birmingham and so became part of a Midland network akin to the Pococks (and connected to the Cotswold Barnsleys and their Gimson and Jewson circle) see A.S. Gray, Edwardian Architecture: A Biographical Dictionary (London, 1985), p. 100.

Architects in Connexion: Four Methodist Generations


Such sagacity, with its shades of Robert Perks and the Mewburns as well as Fuller Pocock, seems to have been a Wesleyan trait. William continued his father's property speculations in Brompton and Bayswater, completing the development of Trevor Terrace and Trevor Place, experimenting with 'Italian Doric' in the 1850s on Westbourne Grove and Denbigh Road, acting as surveyor to the Chelsea and Pimlico Building Societies and extending his own operations into those parts, with brickmaking as a useful sideline, now that red brick was returning to London.43 He was particularly proud of his smart foot work on Grove House, William Wilberforce's old Brompton property, which he bought in 1844 with the aid of a loan just ahead of a restrictive local building act which helpfully did not apply to work already in progress: I happened to mention to Mr Thos Cubitt how much per acre I had given for the land, and he seemed to think it too much. I mentioned it to Mr Seth Smith, and he said I should make £10,000 out of it in seven years. It was virtually completed in less than five years, and my gains greatly exceeded his estimate . . ,44

This was a success story with several high points. One, reached in 1861, was the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Pocock's was one of sixty-three competing designs, submitted in a cupolaed, turreted and towered array of Corinthian, Elizabethan, Byzantine and Italian; only Gothic was expressly excluded.45 Pocock's was not the winning design — that was E.G. Robins's circular Doric — but Pocock secured the commission. His was a stupendous Greek tent, anchored by its grand portico, supposedly fire-proof and with remarkable acoustics, 'To our mind', commented the Building News, Pocock 'has nearly solved the problem of Sir Christopher Wren to the effect that it was impossible to construct a church or chapel wherein 5,000 persons could each, individually, see and hear the preacher, agreeable to the formula of the Church of England service'.46 Although that particular formula hardly applied to this Dissenting Tabernacle the intention was to provide a preaching centre to compete with the best that St Paul's and the Abbey could offer.47

43. Pocock, In Memoriam, pp. 51, 54; Survey of London, xxxvi: North Kensington (London, 1973), pp. 267-68, 275; 'Architect and Builder: Successful Land Speculation in London', The Times, 23 November 1960 [compiled from 'Extracts from Some Reminiscences of William Willmer Pocock, Architect,' R.I.B.A. MSS Coll.] 44. Ibid., Mr Seth Smith, whose Belgravian operations were second only to those of the Cubitts, was the father of Mrs Thomas W. Pocock. 45. The Patriot, 17 February 1859, p. 100; Building News, 24 December 1858, p. 1283. 46. Building News, 6 April 1860, p. 268. It was 208 feet from portico steps to back wall, 106 feet wide and 89 feet high from basement to lantern. It was thought to hold 7000-8000 (in fact it held 5500-6000) and 120 men were employed in its construction. It cost upwards of £31,000 and was opened debt free. In 1861 its membership stood at 1875 but had reached 4813 by 1875. C.H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle: Its History and Work (London, 1876), pp. 77-82. Pocock's assistant, James Cubitt, subsequently designed several of the Tabernacle's far-flung empire of ancillary buildings. 47. Building News, 10 December 1858, p. 1218.

The Metropolitan Tabernacle: Exterior

The Metropolitan Tabernacle: Interior

The Wesleyan William Willmer Pocock's ecclesiastical masterpiece was the Baptist Metropolitan Tabernacle, at once a great Theatre Royal and a Tent of Eternity. Opened in 1861, to serve a church which then had 1,875 members, it seated 5,500 and cost £31,332. Pocock claimed the credit for its name.

Architects in Connexion: Four Methodist Generations


Since this theatre royal of eternity was built for that greatest of spiritual actor managers, the Baptist Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Pocock's Methodist obituarists took special delight in repeating Spurgeon's Calvinistic quip on learning that so pronounced a Methodist was to be his cause's architect: Against the election of this selection Mr Pocock will have no objection. Pocock and Spurgeon got on famously. When there was debate about the acoustic impact of what Pocock proposed for the galleries' under surfaces, Spurgeon airily supported his architect: 'We none of us know anything about it, but if we let the Architect have his own way, we shall have the comfort of having someone to blame if it fails, which it most likely will.'48 Pocock gave himself the credit for the new chapel's name: the term 'Cathedral' was too Episcopalian, so I translated it into 'Metropolitan' as the distinctive 'motto' for my Drawings. It appeared to me not inappropriate, as at least in dimensions, this building was to surpass all ordinary chapels, as much as a Cathedral does an ordinary church. When the building was finished, Spurgeon not wishing to have it named after himself, sought for a name. After several discussions he said 'The Architect has christened his own building, why should we interfere'. So Metropolitan it continues.49

The Tabernacle apart, the bulk of Pocock's church work was Methodist, much of it Gothic; churches for Aldershot, Luton and Hastings; Denbigh Road in Bayswater and Great Queen Street Westminster; Mildmay Park and Pimlico; a chapel for Richmond College; the 'Wesleyan Collegiate Institution' for Taunton. But none approached Spurgeon's Tabernacle in the ecclesiastical sphere, although on the secular side Pocock's professional peak came with his Carpenters' Hall (1876-77), 'a thickly Cinquecento building like a prosperous club', the nee plus ultra of 'High Victorian Venetian', built on Throgmorton Avenue which he had laid out two years earlier.50 Pocock knew what London would take. He was now a public man, with politics to air. Hence two Liberal parliamentary candidatures at Guildford, 'that old fashioned town and stronghold of Toryism', the first of them against a Tory lawyer who was 'neither a great

48. 'Architect and Builder' (see n. 43 above). 49. 'Extracts' (see n. 43 above), p. 14. 50. Thus N. Pevsner, revised by Bridget Cherry, The Buildings of England: London, i, The Cities of London and Westminster (Harmondsworth, repr. 1978), pp.291, 100. Analysing the Hall's classical detailing Pevsner decided that it was 'an utterly incorrect but undeniably effective treatment'. Fuller Pocock was vindicated. The Builder was more restrained: 'a dignified building in the old classic school, . . . which does every credit to its designer'. The Builder, 30 September 1899, p. 309. Pocock also competed for two other public commissions: successfully for Chelsea Vestry Hall (1858) and unsuccessfully for Manchester's Assize Courts (1859).

Revival and Religion since 1700


man nor a great judge but strong enough to defeat the Liberal Pocock'.51 The Pococks had moved to Guildford, after an unsatisfactory spell in Chertsey, for health reasons. In 1861 W.W. Pocock had competed for Guildford's County Hall and Court, and for some years they threw all their energies into the town's rather dozy Methodism until its restricted society (at least for well-placed nonconformist women) drove them back to London, this time in the shape of Wandsworth.52 Their Liberalism is suggestive on the eve of Gladstone's England, a permutation perhaps of Lord Egremont's antique Whiggery and the Cobden connexion. Certainly the Methodism was more sturdy than radical. W.W. Pocock's Methodism was like his father's, a long procession of connexional committees and representative sessions of Conference. He served on the Foreign Missionary Committee. He was a trustee of the Centenary Hall. He was president of the Local Preachers' Mutual Aid Association. And he was a marvellously capable beggar. The family's knowledge of Egham, Chertsey and Virginia Water grew easily into a concern for the vast military mission fields of Aldershot. A busy, Pocockian Gothic complex of shops, halls, manse and chapel long testified to that in the town's centre, but there was work to be done on South and North Camps as well. The former was covered in 1857 and by 1863 the redoubtable W.H. Rule was urging the claims of the latter on the President of Conference, Charles Prest. He wrote about the 'long neglected myriads of our own Children in the British Army'. He wrote of full services in a carpenter's shop, a small class formed and a site purchased; of foundations laid and walls ready to rise, at which point Mr Pocock the architect, well known amongst us, engages to lay on the roof, meanwhile aiding us most materially with his professional skill and with personal oversight as a man of business, and as a Wesleyan who feels deeply interested in the prosperity of the cause of God in this particular neighbourhood.

Indeed there had been some hope that Pocock would buy, build and let the new chapel himself, but he 'did not feel that he could, just now, lay out from £500 to £1000, as the case may be', so some other benefactor would have to be found for 'these living rudiments of a future Methodism'.53 Nonetheless 51. 11 July 1865: 17 December 1866:

Guildford Onslow William Bovill, Q.C. William Willmer Pocock Richard Garth William Willmer Pocock

Liberal Conservative Liberal Conservative Liberal

333 318 228 339 301

Q. Vincent and M. Stenton, ed., McCalmont's Parliamentary Poll Book: British Election Results, 1832-1918 (Brighton, 1971) p. 128]. 52. 'Memorial sketch of Mrs W.W. Pocock' (see n. 36 above), p. 812. Their town house was still at 10 Trevor Terrace from 1849 to c. 1864. 53. Correspondence from Rev. W.H. Rule, Wesleyan Church, Aldershot, to Rev. Charles Prest, 11 July, 18 August 1863, Methodist Archives, John Rylands University of Manchester Library, MAM PLP 93210.1; 93.22, 77 and 78. I am indebted to Dr J.H. Thompson C.B., for these references.

.Architects in Connexion: Four Methodist Generations


Pocock brought all the strength he could to bear on home mission work in the area. 'He wrote earnest letters in the newspapers on what he called "The Methodist Wilderness in Surrey"'. He — and his younger brother: these two earnest and devoted men gave themselves heartily to try to make the wilderness blossom . . . They were both 'Connexional' men. They knew the value of having their own gifts subsidised, so that a very large sum of money from Connexional Funds had gone towards building new sanctuaries . . . this very largely because of the works, gifts and pleading of the Brothers Pocock.

But there was more to the Brothers Pocock than the sanctified Dickensianism of Wesleyan wheeler-dealing. There was the shaping of Christian men, these living rudiments, from recalcitrant material, W.W. Pocock's Methodist obituarist captured this to perfection. For Pocock was young in days when 'The metropolis was the necropolis of Methodists', prey to lay popes, 'Strong, well-to-do laymen': That spirit of lay masterfulness, lived long and died hard. In that atmosphere Mr Pocock's father lived; and he himself was born and bred in it. That explains some of the lines he once took.

But he 'saw where the better course was'. When changes came he 'took his share earnestly and loyally'.54 It was a battle. Take, for example, his life-long concern for local preachers. He was one himself, 'a sensible, sound preacher, but never very effective or popular. So also on the platform he was not attractive, but he was useful, and could state his case well, when he did not speak too long'. Here he found an arena for the sublimation of many of the inherited traits of lay popery. It took the form of doctrinal conservatism, if not downright conservatism, kindly glossed as a 'passionate desire that the doctrines of Methodism should be well understood and intelligently declared'. That meant writing books with give-away titles: Darwinism a Fallacy (1891), Sketches of Historical Contrasts of Great Faith and Little Faith (1892), A Layman's View of the Higher Criticism of the Pentateuch, referring especially to Dr Driver's 'Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament' (1894), as well as A Sketch of the History of Wesleyan Methodism and the Established Church (1870).55 It also meant his revision of Wesley's Notes as The Methodist Commentary and the starting, managing and financing of a fund for letting local preachers buy cheap books from the Book Room. And it meant keeping ministers in their place:

54. Methodist Recorder, 21 September 1899. 55. Less controversially and much more prosaically he supplemented and updated E.B. Jupp's An Historical Account of the Company of Carpenters (London, 1887) and wrote The Drainage of London: A letter addressed to the Metropolitan Board of Works on the value of the Sewage . . . and the means of effecting its application to agricultural purposes (London, 1856).


Revival and Religion since 1700

There can be no doubt that if Mr Pocock had been a member of the Committee for the examination of candidates for the ministry, some would have found the sieve finer than they expected. He would have applied tests that might have troubled many aspiring souls. He certainly would not have been satisfied with a declaration of an inward call. He was of the cult that believes that if a man thinks himself called to preach, and can find only a few who wish to hear him preach, he ought to decide that the inward call was misunderstood . . . Somehow his heart did not glow at its warmest towards young folks, especially young ministers. In time he mellowed, and, given that 'straight talk rather than the quotation of poetry was his choice', he mellowed engagingly: Oddly enough, when past seventy, he wrote a number of stories — really novels — under the nom de plume of F.R.I.B.A. He was rather gratified with this part of the work. He paid the bills of paper-maker, printers, and binders himself; and if the books had no sale, they had an extensive circulation, as he gave them away very liberally. Applications from the crowd of importunate beggars for bazaars, regarded by so many people as a perfect nuisance, received from Mr Pocock the grim reply that he would send them books for sale. And he sent them broadcast. If they realised money for good objects, he was content; if they were not sold, he did not ask for their return. That obituarist knew his man. Here with his godly vanity publishing and his careful sense of self was an object for antiquarians to delight in, 'almost the last of a set of men who did much to rule our Church, particularly in London'. But the obituarist also knew his man's worth: He had an old-fashioned sort of Methodist experience. He loved the classmeeting and prayer-meeting, and attended them well until age crept on. He was of the type of men for whom Methodist life, doctrine, experience, and discipline were a great blessing. Methodism, he felt, had after all moulded the best side of William Willmer Pocock's character. There was no smugness in recognising this. It was simple fact. Pocock himself knew it. That obituary began with a reminiscence. A friend was comforting the old stalwart: 'You have done a great deal for Methodism'; and Pocock had replied: 'Methodism has done a great deal more for me'.56 His children married satisfactorily. Six of the nine married. Of the four sons, two married family connexions while the three daughters who married did so into copper-bottomed Wesleyanism. But it was their uncle Tom Pocock who had married best of all.

56. Methodist Recorder, 21 September 1899.

Architects in Connexion: Four Methodist Generations


Thomas Willmer Pocock (1817—89) was William Willmer Pocock's younger brother. The pattern was the same with him: nine children, with Wesleyan alliances for the four who married; chapel attendance, first in London, then in its home counties; the consequent connexional round of gifts, committees and deputations with such markers as the Bible Society or London City Mission on the wider evangelical front; and the firm foundation in property. There was the same firmness in temperament, less abrasive in Tom Pocock than in his brother or his father, but still hard for a younger generation to take, 'a little autocratic and awe-inspiring' to the youngest daughter who 'confessed to understanding and appreciating [him] only later in life'; to his important minister friend, Dr Rigg, he was 'always the same, his "eye was single", his character pre-eminently consistent . . . strict without sourness or uncharitableness'.57 He was also less bookish than his father or brother. W.W. Pocock, pondering his own time at King's London and what was in effect a three-year sabbatical from his father's office, reflected that Tom's forte was 'observation'; and he picked up at once an assemblage of facts that I could only acquire by study; and he was perfectly at home and au fait in the laboratory and dissecting room, and frightened or amused us with his experiments, his 'laughing gas', and his skeleton, whilst Celsus was still a puzzle and a burden to him.58

Consequently, Tom's profession was a foregone conclusion. In 1833 he was articled to his uncle Henry Willmer, the Marylebone medical man. He attended lectures at St George's Hospital, became M.R.C.S. in 1839 and settled in Brompton in 1842, well within the Sloane Terrace network since Broster, whose practice he took, was a Sloane Terrace stalwart and a client of Fuller Pocock's as well as a specialist in speech impediments.59 For the rest of the decade Tom Pocock was an active surgeon in general practice. Then his health collapsed and he was forced to retire. He was still in his early thirties. He became a country gentleman, taking over Glenridge, later keeping a house in Eccleston Terrace. His passion for medicine was now channelled into the Medical Board of Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum or into his hobbies as a naturalist. For the rest there was the county bench and — in the 1860s — the Volunteers, ten years with the Queen's Westminster Rifle volunteers, first as a sergeant, then as ensign: 'This, in his view, was a form of philanthropy.'60 It was certainly a therapy: 'Military drill and exercise . . . had a medicinal influence on his constitution.'61

57. [Hunter] Maud Mary McAulay p. 10; [J.H.] Rigg, 'Memoir of Mr Thomas Willmer Pocock', Wesley an Methodist Magazine, xvi 6th Series, January 1890, p. 1. 58. Pocock, In Memoriam, pp. 65-66. 59. Ibid., pp. 44, 46, 48; fragmentary MS, probably by his daughter Elizabeth Rose Pocock, Dunk MSS. 60. Rigg, 'Memoir', pp. 8, 5; certificate of commission, 1862, Dunk MSS. 61. Rigg, 'Memoir', op. cit., p. 5.


Revival and Religion since 1700

T.W. Pocock's service on the Bench was specially gratifying for his fellow Wesleyans. 'Such honours in the Southern counties are very rarely bestowed except on wealthy and influential county men', wrote Dr Rigg. Yet this county man, 'in the midst of magnates and millionaires', made no secret of his Methodism. He witnessed steadily from Glenridge to his continuing profession as 'an active and distinctively Christian philanthropist, caring for and contributing to rescue work and Christian education on a Wesleyan basis'; and there was the time when Pocock drove Rigg and William Arthur from Glenridge to Eversley to call on Charles Kingsley: It was a delightful visit. We conversed with Kingsley about miracles and natural history, in some parts of which Mr Pocock was an adept, and which afforded striking points of analogy bearing on the question of Providential working . . ,62

Such reminiscence colours much later recollections of Glenridge in Tom Pocock's day: It was a cultured home. A lively interest in the affairs of the world flourished against a background of deep evangelical piety . . . In common with many Methodists, the Pococks in the absence of a Methodist Chapel went to the Parish Church. Before a chapel was built at Englefield Green the family used to fill two pews in the church at Virginia Water, and the Vicar and his daughters became life-long friends. It needed social courage in those days to be Methodists in the midst of the Anglican society of Virginia Water and the Green.63

Indeed, in the old terminology, the T.W. Pococks were aggressive Methodists. By the 1850s Glenridge had quite ceased to be a summer lodge. It was the capacious home of a large family for whom it was necessary to find spheres of usefulness. Pocock's own sphere of usefulness had been defined by his conversion in 1832 and it too fell along the lines of chapels and their extension and committees and their management. Rigg's memoir lists a whole army of chapels. Most of them were in the second London District, some fifty miles square of chapels. Many of them reflected the Willmer network — Basingstoke, Farnham, Alton, Hartley Row, Petersfield (where he and his brother laid the foundation stone of a new chapel in what had been the garden of Fanny Willmer's birthplace), Winchester (another stone), Eversley (yet another stonelaying, with 'a bright company of Methodists, ladies and gentlemen, attracted to the spot by special sympathies'). Others were within a travelling preacher's ride of Glenridge — Sandhurst with its village circuit of six chapels by 1880; Sunninghill, Staines, Chertsey and Walton-on-Thames; Sandpits where Pocock opened a room in 1865 'worked . . . chiefly by members of his family'; Egham, whose chapel 62. Ibid., pp. 8, 2, 1. 63. [Hunter], Maud Mary McAulay, p. 11.

Architects in Connexion: Four Methodist Generations


was built in memory of his fourth son, and opened in spring 1880 by the pulpiteering William Morley Punshon (and in later years enlarged in memory of his fifth son); Englefield Green, begun a year later in Victoria Street; with Woking and Guildford further afield and — outside the district altogether — an important stone-laying at Oxford in May 1883.64 No wonder there were close friendships with leading ministers — Rigg> Arthur, Charles Prest, Alexander McAulay — and the full gamut of lay connexional experience as Pocock the local preacher and class leader blossomed into Pocock the committee man, Very modest and undemonstrative . . . but. . . as independent as he was modest and loyal'. Hence the Day School Committee, the Children's Home and Orphanage Committee, missionary committees, the Wesleyan Middle-Class School movement (£200, for example, to The Leys) and all the busy-ness made possible by the railway age. There were Bible Society deputations to Berlin and Vienna and Missionary Society deputations to Switzerland and the Methodist preaching stations in France. There were deputations in 1879 for the Thanksgiving Fund and in 1876 to the Channel Islands. There was nothing by default, for this 'pre-eminently intelligent Methodist. . . made his religion his business. He closely studied the constitution and the affairs of his Church, its history and its administration'.65 Here was perhaps no lay pope but he had his place in the curia. On 4 June 1844 Tom Pocock married Elizabeth Rose, eldest daughter of Seth Smith, gentleman, of 33 Eaton Square. She was twenty-eight, he a year younger. The ceremony was in the Trevor Chapel, the Congregational preaching place a stone's throw from the Fuller Pocock house on Trevor Terrace, conducted by one Congregational preaching prince in his prime — John Morison — and witnessed by another on the verge of his prime — Samuel Martin.66 The Pocock-Smith marriage was something of a dynastic alliance: here Congregationalism ('of the elder and, as many think, the better school')67 met Wesleyan Methodism and Sloane Terrace met the Trevor, Eccleston and Westminster Chapels. Here the Methodist Missionary Society met the London Missionary Society; here the London City Mission, Bible Society and Religious Tract Society combined; here, above all, the architect's son married the builder's daughter. We are back to property. For Seth Smith (1791-1860) was developing Belgravia and Pimlico in the wake of Thomas Cubitt and Joseph Cundy. The early 1840s were not easy years for him: he was behindhand with his ground rents and in debt to the Grosvenor estate.68 Yet when he died he left £500,000 and his multi-codicilled 64. Rigg, 'Memoir', passim. 65. Ibid., fragmentary MS. 66. Marriage certificate, Dunk MSS; For John Morison (1791-1859), minister at Trevor Chapel 1816-59, editor of Evangelical Magazine, 1827-57, see D.N.B.; for Samuel Martin (1817-78), minister at Westminster Chapel 1842-78, who trained as an architect, see D.N.B. Although the Seth Smiths sat under Morison, they named a grandson after Martin and married his sister to Martin's son. 67. Rigg, 'Memoir', p. 4. 68. S. Jenkins, Landlords to London (London, 1975), p. 80.


Revival and Religion since 1700

will testified to his mounting prosperity during the 1850s and to the careful provision which he made for his married daughters and their families.69 It was this which cushioned the Glenridge Pococks against nearly forty years of early retirement. They and their Methodism owed as much to Congregational speculation in Belgravia as the Trevor Terrace and Wandsworth Pococks owed to Wesleyan speculation in Brompton and Bayswater: in Elizabeth Pocock's case that meant rents from houses in Chester Square, Wilton Crescent and Charles Street, Lowndes Square and, by two successive codicils, it meant some £18,000 to be invested in trust for her and her children, the bulk of it in an accumulating fund at compound interest until the youngest had reached the age of twenty-one (which would be in 1880). It also meant, by the first of those codicils, that 4 Eccleston Terrace was left in trust for Elizabeth . . . Thus were the third and fourth generations of a middle-class family protected against the financial squalls which had buffeted and sometimes grounded the first and second generations, at least until their leases reverted to the Grosvenor Estates. They were less protected against bodily squalls. Tom logged his children's vaccinations and their ailments — their whooping cough, measles, chickenpox, scarlatina, gastric fever. Four of the six sons died young, two in boyhood and two in young manhood, one when lightning struck his boat off Scarborough and the other in a Lincolnshire shooting accident. That son was over from Canada where he was fruit-farming and at the same time, as local preacher and Sunday school officer, planting out that family Methodism which showed no signs of slackening in his generation. Of his sisters, one married into Leeds tea and Wesleyan Methodism, and one into Lincolnshire farming and Wesleyan Methodism while his brother Percy Willmer (1856-1941) married into Brixton Hill and Wesleyan Methodism. It was Percy who most busily sustained the Pococks's tradition of lay Methodism, as local preacher, chapel trustee and connexional committee man, inheriting to the full his family's tendency to sturdy ill-health, its liking for music, and its fondness for nature study. Consequently he trained as a solicitor and practised retiringly in the City, but the bulk of his business was to do with the Pococks and their properties. His own house, The Beeches, two-acred on Egham Hill, was a stocky red villa built for him by James Weir, a stocky red architect. It was Percy who alerted his cousins in 1908 to the state of their grandparents' grave. Although Pocockian Methodism was largely a lay phenomenon, there were significant ministerial outliers. In the older generation the only brother with whom Fuller Pocock maintained close contact was George (1788-1875) who took Anglican orders; so did George's son, who married one of Fuller Pocock's

69. Will dated 18 January 1850, sworn at under £500,000, 30 July 1860, copy in Dunk MSS.

Architects in Connexion: Four Methodist Generations


daughters.70 It was through the clerical husband of another of Fuller Pocock's daughters, Robert Maxwell MacBrair (1808-74), that the Pococks experienced the backwash of Methodist disruption.71 In the younger generation there were four parsons within the immediate family circles of Glenridge and The Beeches, more if the capacious cousinhoods introduced by Mrs T.W. Pocock and Mrs Percy Pocock are brought into play. Indeed, the social consolidation of which Glenridge was so suggestive an earnest was thwarted by the determination of Glenridge's heir, the younger T.W. Pocock (1846-1929), to become a Methodist missionary.72 Their careers, MacBrair's especially, are salutary reminders of the eddies at work beneath the main stream of denominational transition. Thus the decade which saw W.W. Pocock standing as a Liberal at Guildford saw his brother-in-law MacBrair ministering to key figures in the shaping, organising and communicating of Liberalism in Sheffield. That brother-in-law had for some years been at the sharp end of disruptions which had ended in the shifting of his own allegiance. The political and ecclesiological issues at stake interacted. Such shifts notwithstanding, careers like MacBrair's bear out the role, which must be noted although it cannot be further explored here, of ministers as social and intellectual intermediaries in family networks. The historical family, particularly in Christian communities, has been described as an 'arrow through time'.73 Your family gives you an identity; it offers you a role; if forms you; it provides you with your sense of place and points of reference. It also offers you a future. It projects you forward. There were Methodist Pococks from the days of Wesley to the 1980s. Their Methodism was most actively distinctive in their laymen, on whom this essay has concentrated. They gave contemporary expression to Methodist works. It was most spiritually distinctive in their women, on whom a separate essay should concentrate. They transmitted Methodist faith. The historian turns to the men for the social way marks and to the women for the spiritual continuities. Their Methodism was conservative in both senses of that word. It was never unintelligent but it was mentally unadventurous; in later generations Keswick and Moral Rearmament marked its outer shores. It reached in to committees and out to chapel extension and foreign missions. It was eminently practical. It networked its way across the country, helped by the friendships forged in Methodist schools and the kinships sanctified in Methodist chapels. It had

70. For Frederick Pearce Pocock, see F. Boase, Modern English Biography (London, 1908; 1965 edn), p. 244. 71. There is no memoir of MacBrair; he is glimpsed in Pocock, In Memoriam; his travails in Edinburgh in the early 1850s are detailed in A.J. Hayes, Edinburgh Methodism, 1761-1975: The Mother Church (Edinburgh, 1976), pp. 144ff. His departure from Methodism to Congregationalism is signalled in Cambridge Chronicle', 1 September 1855, quoted in Evangelical Magazine (1855), p. 600 and ibid. (1857), p. 99. 72. The Rev. T.W. Pocock settled in South Africa. He never returned to Glenridge. 73. By Natalie Davis; the image has been picked up in a late seventeenth-century Presbyterian context in Patricia Crawford, 'Katharine and Philip Henry and their Children: A Case Study in Family Ideology', Transactions Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, 134 (1987), p. 44.


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its veneer of Forsytes and its sub-stratum of failures. It was not, of course, exclusively Methodist: one of its most distinguished outworkings was Anglican and it interacted with Congregationalism.74 Neither did it reach its peak, nor its end, with the generation of the Brothers Pocock. The architectural involvement which was its prime lay distinction, continued for two more generations. With W.W. Pocock's son, Maurice Henry (1854-1921), it took a modishly wayward turn.75 He entered his father's office in 1872; was clerk of works on his father's Aldershot Soldiers' Home; and became his father's partner in 1875. The partnership was not a success. He left Craven Street for offices of his own in Queen Anne's Gate and struck out for 'the sake of what he felt was the better way'.76 For Maurice Pocock was the complete Arts and Craftsman. He took a Surrey farm at Horsell and then built his own home, Mesylls, near Chiddingfold, wooded, tile-hung and red-russet Queen Anne. His line lay neither in chapels nor civic cinquecento but in the 'firmness, commodity and delight' of Home County restoration, and he ranged over Kent and Surrey ever alert for the authentic detail. Detail was his forte. He was on occasion his own stonelayer and bricklayer, properly anxious lest his builders go astray 'even in the disposing of the bricks in the chimneys'.77 That anxiety was not necessarily reciprocated and it was certainly not the anxiety which had characterised his father and grandfather, for Maurice 'had a joyful and happy-go-lucky nature'.78 He exhibited at the Royal Academy and his houses were described in Country Life; but he retained sufficient City sense to be Master of the Carpenters' Company in 1909 and to enjoy every minute of it;79 and he sustained his family's Methodism. The fourth architectural Pocock, Percy Willmer Jr (1885-1986), was not in independent practice. In his case the family connexions which beckoned so promisingly came to little and his was not the temperament to strike out on its own. His cousin Maurice, calling one day at The Beeches and shown young Willmer's drawings, said 'make him an architect'.80 So they did; but his climb into the profession was a slow one.81 He did not shine as an Architectural Association student and though the family clearly had expectations of a partnership with his successful cousin, Howard Seth-Smith, 74. T.W. Pocock's granddaughter, Grace McAulay (b. 1893) married one of the twentieth century's more notable bishops, Leslie Hunter (1890-1983; himself the son of a famous Congregational Minister), bishop of Sheffield, 1939-1962. 75. Spiritually underwritten by Carlyle's Past and Present ('always . . . one of the guides on which he strove to shape his life'), with Felix Holt as another hero. For Pocock see notes to R.I.B.A. MSS Collection, and The Builder, 24 June 1921, p. 292. 76. Ibid. 77. Ibid. 78. P.W. Pocock, Time to Remember Happy Days, typescript 1982, p. 9; Dunk MSS. 79. But — true mark of the Arts and Craftsman — he refused to join that other traditionary Pocock body, the R.I.B.A. 80. P.W. Pocock, Time to Remember, p. 9. 81. For P.W. Pocock (A.R.I.B.A., 1914) see nomination papers, R.I.B.A.; his architectural papers are now at the R.I.B.A. His Time to Remember Happy Days is a rose-tinted memoir which unfailingly sets a thwarted career in an amiable light.

Architects in Connexion: Four Methodist Generations


to whom he had been articled in 1906, and for whom he worked for several years as improver and assistant, no partnership came Willmer's way.82 The Great War interrupted such career as he had. After it he worked in a desultory way for several architects, Seth-Smith among them, for whom he drew some flat-roofed, concrete 'homes for heroes' in Epsom. Then he virtually became his father's solicitor's clerk, locked into family business. Much of that business was still Methodist business. The fifth generation from William Pocock, the master carpenter, had been groomed from childhood for the now traditionary loyalties of chapel, Bible and Missionary Societies and it steadfastly played its part: A very successful Juvenile Missionary meeting got up entirely by Mabel and the chair taken by my dear boy Willmer — the first chair he had taken. The children knew their parts splendidly and sang very sweetly and great credit was due to my dear Mabel. Dear Willmer also did very well — I felt very thankful to have them all at work for God.83

In Mabel's case work for God meant marriage into Leeds Methodism (the second Pocock generation to do so) and fifteen years in South China as a medical missionary's wife.84 In Willmer's case it meant steady, though not always easy, membership at Egham and St Paul's, Bromley Road, Beckenham, sometimes in the pew but happiest at the organ console, since music was his true passion. Willmer was no more cut out for Connexional committee work than he was for the profession of architecture. When their mother wrote of Mabel and Willmer's successful Juvenile Missionary meeting she did so as of the senior generation, for none now survived of the age of the Brothers Pocock. 'Why was I never told that religion was such a blessed thing?' asked a Pocock family friend on his death bed.85 Their generation was assured of religious blessedness and believed in deathbeds. The form was traditionary. The reality still fitted it. Fuller Pocock's had been an exemplary death. 'Glory, Glory, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah', were his last words.86 T.W. Pocock's too was exemplary. For forty years he had been an almost invalid, shepherding his strength for connexional duties. When it came, death was as long drawn out as illness, and more painful. His daughter-in-law suffered for him: As I stood there in that death-like silence I thought what an awful thing death is even to the Christian; that dreadful sinking, sinking, sinking, and all alone (although not alone) too weak to be able to think of God and His comforts. 82. For W.H. Seth Smith (1852-1928), see A.S. Gray, Edwardian Architecture (London, 1985), p. 324; The Builder, 7 September 1928, p. 394. 83. Jessie Mabel Pocock, MS journal, 1881-1911, 28 November 1907: Dunk MSS. 84. Mabel Pocock (1882-1985) married Dr Benjamin Randall Vickers, who served the Methodist Missionary Society in South China from 1910 to 1925 and was later in general practice in Luton. 85. Pocock, In Memoriam, p. 46. 86. Ibid., p. 58.


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Yet, as she interpreted it, his could still fit the pattern: He has left the memory of a truly consistent, earnest, Christian life and his death was a long, patient, beautiful preparation for eternity. When Nurse asked him one day if he wanted any thing he said, 'Only to see my Saviour'. He expressed a wish that his Christmas might be spent in Heaven and it will be.

T.W. Pocock was buried in the churchyard at Virginia Water, his grave attended by a son, three daughters, a son-in-law and a solid body of Wesleyan ministers. They sang 'Jesus the name high over all'. To his daughter-in-law 'it seemed so familiar and I have so often heard him quote it in his prayers at the Prayer Meeting'.87 When W.W. Pocock died ten years later his obituary ended in what was almost a prose anticipation of Stanley Spencer, although Wandsworth was no Cookham, 'in a cemetery where rests in peace all that was mortal of many good Methodists. In the morning of the Resurrection many of the just will rise there'.88 Meanwhile, with eternity still time — and heaven still earth-bound — there remains a stained-glass window for this just saint. It is a characteristically practical yet inappropriate memorial, grandly out of scale yet safe for posterity, tucked securely and very properly in the coat-tails of shrine-nostalgia. It is in Wesley's Chapel, City Road. W.W. Pocock's grandfather saw the chapel built. His father tampered with its building in the 1820s and he himself had followed suit in the 1860s. The Methodist Recorder excels in its economy of descriptive emotion: when the great renovation took place at the celebration of the centenary of Wesley's death, he startled everyone concerned by stating that in his opinion it would be found, on examination, that the foundations of the structure were unsound. He was proved to be correct. Between the lower lines of bricks and solid ground was much space. That important discovery led to such alterations as made Wesley's old Chapel absolutely safe; but they cost an enormous amount of money, and were one cause of the great financial difficulty. It was an unexpected demand.89

This must explain an unexpected window. Two years after Pocock's death a window was inserted to his memory in Wesley's Chapel. It is one of eighteen 'portrait' windows inserted between 1893 and 1932. As a building Wesley's Chapel has greatly suffered. Its windows are among the chief offenders. They provide an Edwardian glassmakers' pantheon of manufacture and design.90 Their style ranges from Pre-Raphaelite to the stripped-Gothic-spiritual-uplift 87. Jessie Mabel Pocock, MS journal, 10 December 1889; Dunk MSS. 88. Methodist Recorder, 21 September 1899. 89. Ibid. 90. N. McMurray, 'The Stained Glass of Wesley's Chapel: A Critical Analysis in Two Parts', pt. 2, 'The Portrait Windows', Wesley's Chapel Magazine, winter 1987, esp. pp. 6ff.

Architects in Connexion: Four Methodist Generations


of the 1930s. Their quality is variable, their interest uniform and their associations profound. In 1901 the chapel's windows chiefly comprised those given in 1893 by the Wesley an Reform Union, the Primitive Methodists and the United Methodist Free Churches; in 1898 by the Methodist New Connexion; and in 1895 and 1900 by the American and Canadian Methodists respectively. One window commemorated an individual: Henry Holiday's 'Paul before Agrippa', in honour of a past-president of Conference, G.T. Perks (d. 1877). So Pocock's window, designed by Alfred D. Hemming and unveiled in February 1901 by Pocock's daughter, Mrs Digby Shillington, and briefly spoken to by his son, William Archbutt Pocock, was the first to a layman. It is a masterly instance of an establishment effortlessly taking change into its system and largely ignoring it. Hemming's window, higher on technical quality than design, is alive with colour, studded with fruit and angels, heavy with architectural and religious allusion. It is a complex composition in white and gold, light blue and dark blue, red and brown and black. It shows, framed as richly as he is robed, an architect who stands beneath an ornate canopy and in front of a classical temple (can it be Spurgeon's Tabernacle?). He holds a plan which he appears to be expounding with the full authority of his profession. His head, nobly bearded, carefully groomed, is unmistakably that of W.W. Pocock. In contrast to his high Victorian physiognomy, the gold sandals, the red and gold robes, fringed and tasselled and regal, seem to be an endearing affectation. Like its sixteenth-century style, so at variance with its eighteenth century surroundings, they provide an acceptable anachronism, entirely characteristic of an impressive window which can impress only those who bother to seek it out, since it is by the chapel's right-hand corner as one faces the table end. But such affectation approaches effrontery when the full import of the design is understood: The artist has been happy in his selection of his subject, the central figure in the window representing King Solomon, the great architect of the Temple, holding the plan of it in one hand and a pair of compasses in the other; whilst behind this appears a small model of the building itself.91

With W.W. Pocock as King Solomon the last great old-style London layman resumes his rightful place. Such is the circularity of change. Or is the grand effrontery still more apparent then real? For John Wesley's stone-laying sermon had been on Solomon and his Temple which, with the window's inscription, allows us to return to the reality of a truly Methodist succession and a due sense of place, proud only in its Connexion: This window is erected by his children in memory of William Willmer Pocock, B.A., A.K.C., F.R.I.B.A., Ob. 1899; a trustee of this chapel for 49 years; also of his father William Fuller Pocock, Ob. 1849; and of his grandfather, William Pocock, Ob. 1835, who was present when John Wesley laid the foundationstone of this chapel. 91. Methodist Recorder, 7 February 1901.

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Cemeteries, Religion and the Culture of Capitalism Thomas W. Laqueur

However ineffectual the Anglican church may have been in enforcing either its political or its confessional principles in comparison to the continental post-Tridentine church, the parish and parish church retained their power as places for much of the eighteenth century and well into the nineteenth. The fabric of the building, the earth of its yard, the shape of its tower, the aura it lent to rituals of passage, the sheer geographical reality of the fundamental ecclesiastical and administrative unit of England retained their emotional potency as other signs of spiritual commitment faded. Opposition to Methodism was often based less on articulated religious or cultural differences than on xenophobia, on hostility toward outsiders. Local defences of the church were defences of boundaries.1 Indeed the most radical aspect of Methodism, and its closest link to capitalism, was not its preaching on work or on the spiritual meaning of riches — Wesley, in the manner of an earlier age, was carried to his grave by paupers and more generally held quite old-fashioned views about the blessedness of poverty — but its relationship to space. Methodists were parish poachers. More precisely they did not recognise the ancient divisions of the land and sought to replace them with itinerancy, a national conference, a religion more of the heart than of the earth. Methodism was a religion of geographical openness, of movement, of exchange.2 Like the political corresponding societies with which they were linked by anti-Jacobin contemporaries, like the burgeoning press, the Methodists broke down localism and helped to create the new public space of a commercial, liberal society. In this essay, honouring John Walsh who taught me to see churches and chapels in the landscape, I want to explore the opening of sacred spaces and the decline of the autarchy of the parish in relationship to the culture of capitalism. Specifically, I want to show how a market economy, the quintessential destroyer of old boundaries, became linked with the burial of

1. John Walsh, 'Methodism and the Mob in the Eighteenth Century', in G.J. Cuming and D. Baker, ed., Studies in Church History, 8 (Cambridge, 1972), pp. 213-27. 2. See the classical formation of this point in E. Halevy, England in 1815 (London, I960), pp. 412-13 and The Birth of Methodism in England (Chicago, 1971), pp. 71-72.



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the dead, who had for millennia given their bodies and hence their histories to the soil of the parish. For about a thousand years — from Archbishop Cuthbert in 750 to the Industrial Revolution — the people of Britain, with very few exceptions, were buried either in the consecrated ground of their parish churchyard or within the church itself.3 Beginning, however, with Belfast in 1778, Glasgow in 1830, and Kensal Green, London, in 1832 (actually with South Park Street, Calcutta, in 1767; Agra and Surat even earlier, i.e. from the periphery inward), all major cities of the empire by 1850 had cemeteries, unconnected with any church, operated by their shareholders for profit. With the Burial Acts of 1852 and 1855 more new cemeteries were authorised to be administered by local burial boards under the guidance of the Home Office and the Treasury. In the course of twenty years the Church in England lost its near monopoly over the dead; the autarchy of the parish as a place of final rest was broken; radically new spaces for burial, at a distance from towns for the first time since Greco-Roman antiquity, were created; customary rights were bought out; freehold individual property in graves was created. Death, in short, had met up with capitalism and the market economy. The history of cemeteries, if not relegated to a branch of landscape gardening, has generally been understood as part of the history of social reform, an element of the story that includes factory legislation, temperance, or the Board of Health. James Stevens Curl, for example, regards them as a solution to the problem of too much dirt, too much 'matter out of place': 'the number of dead to be buried was enormous, and something very much more satisfactory than the old parish churchyard burial had to be devised'. The Victorians, on this account, simply rebelled against 'overcrowded burial grounds, drunken grave diggers, body snatchers, the ever-present stench of corruption, and the sight of bones carelessly thrown up from yawning graves'.4 Cemeteries, as their promoters had always maintained, should therefore be regarded as an aspect of the history of progress: from 'the old system' where one found only 'loathsome relics of mortality and festering disease' to the new where we find ourselves surrounded by such harmonious mingling of nature and art, that, while we ourselves are gratified with the fragrance of beautiful flowers,

3. A history of burials is recited at the beginning of the appropriate section of all ecclesiastical law texts because it was considered to be the basis for a variety of rights, fees and practices whose only legal basis was custom, i.e. historical practice, and the interpretation of these customs by various courts. The background is set out in A.J. Stephens, A Practical Treatise of the Laws Relating to the Clergy (London, 1848), pp. 1, 187-193; and F.N. Rogers, Practical Arrangements of Ecclesiastical Law (London, 1840), pp. 125-6. 4. J.S. Curl, The Victorian Celebration of Death (Newton Abbott, 1972), p. 22. Likewise in the American case, Stanley French regards so called 'rural cemeteries' as 'another important reform initiated during the Jacksonian period'. See his 'The Cemetery as Cultural Institution: The Establishment of Mount Auburn and the "Rural Cemetery" Movement', in D. Stannard, ed., Death in America, (Philadelphia, 1975), p. 88.

Cemeteries, Religion and the Culture of Capitalism


the merry chirping of birds . . . our minds are elevated by the many peaceful associations of the scene and those great truths so silently yet eloquently asserted in a garden of the dead.5

The triumph of modern hygiene. Philippe Aries provides a far broader vision. Cemeteries, he says, are 'a fascinating and complicated development that reveals a whole new side of the contemporary sensibility' manifest in 'an altogether new' concept of death, 'less linked to religion and more associated with both private and public life'.6 Or, as another historian puts it, death as a part of life ceased to be grounded in the 'glory and hope of Christianity . . . the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, of life everlasting . . .' and became tied to new secular rituals, customs and places.7 Changing concepts of death, in this model, thus determined burial practices and indeed the flowering of the whole elaborate nineteenth-century cult of mourning and remembrance. None of these views is exactly wrong but none accounts for both the specific novelty of cemetery burial and the great lack of specificity, the divergence — chronological, geographical and aesthetic — in western cemeteries. I will begin by making this, essentially negative, case. I want to propose also an alternative interpretation. I want to reverse the causal arrow: changing burial practices, themselves imbricated in larger cultural developments, produce, or at least allow to be imagined, new meanings of death. 'Concepts of death' might be regarded less as the coalescence of attitudes and beliefs and more as practices which take on meaning as strands in a larger web of cultural transformation. Capitalism and the Industrial Revolution are not among the causes of cemeteries; if anything the converse is true: cemeteries produce a cultural world fit for the new economic order. Cemeteries, in this account, are to death what Lombard Street was to bills of exchange or the stock market to equities: no mere venue but a sign that the underlying cultural assumptions of capitalism had taken root, that what might have seemed outrageous in an earlier age — the ready circulation of commercial paper or limited liability companies or freehold in grave sites, divorced from the church — could be taken as part of the landscape of everyday life. This claim has two parts. First, I assume that cemeteries, precisely because they shelter the dead, are — like churchyards — resonant arenas for the play of the imagination. In general, and still today, what one can or cannot do to bodies — especially the bodies of the dead — provides the limiting case for what is or is not thinkable. Conversely, if something is thinkable in these terms 5. Illustrated Guide to Kensal Green Cemetery (printed for Croft and Justyne, n.d but accessioned B.L. 24 May 1861), pp. 5, 7. For the association between the dirt of the cemetery and the City see C. Dickens in Bleak House (London, 1853). 6. P. Aries, Images of Man and Death, trans, by Janet Lloyd (Cambridge, MA, 1985), p. 238. 7. J. Morley, Death, Heaven and the Victorians (Pittsburgh, OH, 1971), p. 32.


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— through what happens to bodies — it borrows a sort of moral authority which it could not garner elsewhere. Secondly, I want to argue that the deep resonances of death and bodies allowed cemeteries to become the sites for contesting and making manifest the underlying cultural infrastructure of modern capitalism. They defined the outer bounds of the market, the grey zone where cleanliness and pollution, decency and savagery, permissible and impermissible, vied with one another. If one could trade in death one could trade in anything. Literally selling dead bodies for anatomical dissection and throwing away the unneeded parts was acceptable to no one; providing the bodies of paupers to medical schools was a contested zone. Dumping paupers without any ceremony into pits was beyond the pale, even though the bodies were literally worthless when still alive; minimal pauper funerals — an institutional creation of the era of the Industrial Revolution, were state policy, but bitterly resisted amongst the poor.8 Legal differentiation of private freehold graves and public 'temporary' graves was common practice; de jure separation of pauper from other burials was, many thought, outside the bounds of decency. Cemeteries themselves — like itinerant Methodist preachers — helped to destroy, and more importantly to make manifest, the end of the cultural autarchy of the parish. Churchyards were local burial places; they were for people of that, and no other, place. Cemeteries were for a world with no such bounds. Churchyards were of the world of stasis; cemeteries of a world where 'all that is solid melts into air'. Churchyards as burial places were predicated on a single Christian community; cemeteries represented the cultural pluralism, the marketplace of ideas, which the dual revolutions — French and Industrial — furthered. Churchyards were part of the discourse of dust, bones and ashes; cemeteries of the discourse of science — gases, effluvia, rates of decomposition. My general claim is thus not that cemeteries were more 'secular' than churchyards — fewer crosses over graves, for example — although some were and some were not. Nor do I want to argue simply that they were more commercial — this they almost certainly were — or more conducive to 'private' mourning. Indeed, I do not want to argue that cemeteries represented or reflected any one or any set of religious or secular views. I want rather to propose that formally, as a new kind of institution, they constituted the space for a range of new cultural formations, a bourgeois espace imaginaire in the domain of the dead. I begin with the negative case, with an anti-social history of cemeteries. Cemeteries have been associated with sanitary reform largely because the most vociferous opponents of churchyards spoke in the language of medicine and in the name of cleanliness. The Special Inquiry into the Practice of Interment in Towns is a sort of olfactory fantasia in which one follows the likes of Jordan Roche Lynch, M.D. as 'we have to pick our footsteps through the 8. T.W. Laqueur, 'Bodies, Death, and Pauper Funerals,' Representations, 1 (1983) pp. 109-31.

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excrementous matter floating down'.9 Dead bodies, science shows, are but retorts of noxious gas: 7/10 ounces of flesh evolves 163 grains of fumy carbonic acid which results in a total exhalation from adult, youth and infant bodies of 87,092.15 cubic inches per diem, 3618.15 per hour and 39.94 per minute, calculated Dr Lyon Playfair, the famous chemist.10 There are three difficulties in crediting the rise of cemeteries and demise of churchyard burial to the juggernaut of science and hygienic reform. In the first place, there was nothing new about the sorts of criticisms that sanitary reformers levelled against churchyards. Bishop Latimer complained in 1555 that 'man taketh his death in Paul's Church Yard' and that he himself was much the worse from its 'ill-favoured unwholesome savour'.11 St Giles in London was rebuilt because 'filth and various adventitious matter' had already by 1730 raised the churchyard eight feet above the building's floor. John Evelyn, when he visited Norwich in 1671, observed that churches 'seemed to be built in pits' because the 'congestion of bodies' had so raised the ground around them.12 Hygiene was thus not a discovery of the age of reform. All through the eighteenth century churches were, in fact, taking steps to remedy overcrowded burial places. In some cases churches bought adjacent land: Paddington in 1731; St Mary, Newington Butts, in Surrey in 1755; Southwark in 1816.13 In others, they provided burial space elsewhere under the administration of the parish: St Martin in the Fields in 1804, for example.14 These new burial grounds, however, do not represent new ways of understanding the space of burial so much as they represent new property values — land in the midst of Westminster was too valuable for interments — or simply an expansion to meet new demands. Insofar as hygiene and cleanliness are relevant it is at a deeper level of sensibility which was translated by some people into the language of public health. Explaining why the upper and middle classes had resorted to 'new places of burial', a witness before the 1843 committee captured a more profound and novel sense of uncleanliness: 'the crowded state of the places of burial, the apparent want of seclusion and sanctity pollute the mental associations, and offend the sentiments of the population'.15 Attributing cemeteries to 9. Supplementary Report on the Practice of Interment in Towns, Parliamentary Papers (1843) (509) XII. 10. Playfair's calculations are given in manuscript and on a proof sheet in the Chadwick Papers, box 46, University College, London, while the role of plants in absorbing gases is discussed in a MS memo, box 36. 11. Sermon, 3rd Sunday of Advent, 1552, quoted in J.H. Markland, Remarks on English Churches (Oxford, 1842), p. 109. 12. London, British Museum, Department of Prints and Drawings, Pennant Collection, viii, no. 180: MS text accompanying the engraving; Brent Elliot, typescript 'Notes on the Rosary: England's First Non-Denominational Cemetery' (1982), Norwich Local History Library. 13. Pennant Collection, xii, p. 816; xxvii, p. 307; Ixxi, p. 186. 14. Ibid., lix, p. 289. 15. Report on Interment (1843) [509], xii, p. 195. The emphases are mine to suggest that the concerns here are more those discussed in Mary Douglas' Purity and Danger than in an epidemiology text.


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sanitary reform at best only pushes the question back one level: why now did uncleanliness become polluting and offensive to the sentiments and not just a nuisance or one, among many, health hazards? Finally, there is the question of chronology. Kensal Green in West London, the new model British cemetery, was founded ten years before Chadwick's efforts and no particular crisis explains the phenomenal growth in the new landscapes of death during the middle decades of the nineteenth century. More tellingly, British sanitary reform and concern over crowded burial grounds were manifestly irrelevant to the founding of the first — and still today amongst the greatest — British cemetery: South Park Street in Calcutta. Park Street is a full-scale cemetery in a place which could have had a churchyard and where its absence therefore represents a real cultural choice: the prototypical capitalists of the East India Company disposed of their dead more like Romans than like the Christians they purportedly were. Job Carnock, the founder of Calcutta who died in 1693, is buried near the River Hooghly in a classical mausoleum. When, in 1709, the company finally built the city's first church, burials continued in the unconsecrated ground by Carnock's tomb and not in the sacred ground of the churchyard, a niggardly collar of land tightly circumscribed by a high wall, despite there being thousands of acres of open ground adjacent. The church was destroyed in 1756 and Park Street Cemetery was begun at the edge of the settlement, but by no means out in the country, in 1767. Lest one interpret this move as part of some new hygienic sensibility, it should be noted that when the new church of St John was built in 1787 it was located on the site of the old burial ground. Far from removing bodies from the churchyard, the company men moved the church to the bodies. (Relatively few new interments actually took place because of the greater popularity of Park Street.)16 With almost limitless land available for churchyard burial, and none of the hygienic problems attributable to overcrowding, the empire's first sepulchral space was created. None of the specific movements that have been adduced as causes of the rise of cemeteries is satisfactory. In the first place, arguments of the form in which one cultural development is attributed to another, prior one are notoriously difficult to sustain. One thinks, for example, of A.D. Nock's classic demolition of the various explanations — the rise of eastern mystery religious, older Dionysiac rites, Pythagoreanism, the cost of fuel, a concern for burning bodies as a common nuisance, or any more general change in views of the afterlife — for the shift from cremation to inhumation in second-century Rome. Even if 'fashion' — Nock's explanation — is not terribly helpful, it

16. I take the outlines of my account from J.P. Losty, Calcutta: City of Palaces (London, 1990), pp. 16-33, and Kathleen Blechynden, Calcutta, Past and Present (London, 1905), pp. 68-78. For the building of St John's, the clearing of its churchyard, and new burials see Holmes and Co., Bengal Obituary (London and Calcutta, 1851). On South Park Street Cemetery, see Aurelius Kahn, The South Park Street Cemetery, Calcutta (London 1986).

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does force one to ask how funeral practices articulate with diffuse cultural practices.17 Secondly, specific developments — 'secularisation' is an obvious candidate — in turn do not constitute a sufficient explanation. The classical tombs that supposedly constitute evidence for the process of secularisation are by no means limited to the new cemeteries: the first mausolea in the British Isles are in the late eighteenth-century churchyards of Ulster; classical chest tombs dominate pictures of eighteenth-century English churchyards; and of course the most common seventeenth-century marker, the simple headstone, suggests nothing of Christianity even if it distinguishes Protestant English graves from their supposed continental, popish counterparts.18 Cemetery fashion changes. By the 1850s, when hundreds of new burial boards vastly expanded so called extra-mural burial, high Victorian Gothic had come into fashion. Crosses, medieval arches, not to speak of angels, abound. In fact, the number of crosses among 3500 Cambridgeshire monuments increases sharply, while the number of chest tombs declines dramatically and the number of simple tombstones decreases in more moderate proportions.19 It is difficult to read the new cemeteries, on their own terms, as simply expressions of secularisation. The new Glasgow cemetery, for instance, built on a hillside across the road from the cathedral, advertised itself as perfect for that individual 'for example, who might wish for burial in patriarchal times' and who could 'obtain a last resting-place in the hollow of the rock, or could sleep in the security of a sandstone sepulchre'.20 At Undercliffe in Bradford, we are told, the unconsecrated part of the cemetery 'preach[es] an eloquent though silent lesson of the power of dissent in the neighbourhood'.21 An anti-establishment vision, certainly, but not a secular one. In 1817 the Rev. William Jones, an old man now who had been the vicar of his parish for almost four decades, acceded to the wishes of his grand-daughter: 'Come, dear Grandfather, with me, and let us read the dead!' The next day, he lay in bed, mentally 'reading the parish & hamlet', thinking about how 'Death has, without ceremony, or much previous notice, ejected the occupiers' of various houses, gardens and grounds: the woodman John Smith born on

17. A.D. Nock, 'Cremation and Burial in the Roman Empire', in Essays on Religion and the Ancient World, selected and edited by Zeph Stewart (Oxford, 1972), pp. 277-307. S.C. Humphrey's attack on Fustel's notion of a 'traditional practice of commemorative cult at family tombs, as the basis of group solidarity which was gradually sapped by the state' and her argument that the relationship might work backwards, i.e. that 'the idea of a visible tomb for every man and the "continuity" of all oikoi' may have generated the state is another case in point. See her 'Family Tombs and Tomb-Cult in Ancient Athens', in The Family, Women, and Death (London, 1983), pp. 121 and 79-130 generally. 18. J.S. Curl, Mausolea in Ulster (Belfast, 1978). 19. A. Cannon, 'The Historical Dimension in Mortuary Expressions of Status and Sentiment', Current Anthropology 30 (1989), p. 440. 20. J. Strang, Necropolis Glasguensis (Glasgow, 1831), p. 37. 21. 'Undercliffe', Illustrated Weekly Telegraph, no. 3, Dec. 4, 1886.


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Good Friday fifty-four years ago and buried today, Good Friday; a poor woman who worked in a paper mill and about whom Jones had written in his diary in 1777 that she was a 'prodigy of grace' who 'had more of the pith and marrow of sound divinity in her than 19/20th of the gownsmen in the University'.22 The sensibility here is intensely local; it is of a place and the people of that place. Of course one could read a cemetery as well but it would not speak of a place but of people from all places. It was 'a city' where 'the tenants are, tenanted in dust' — unknown to each other in life and thrown together in a place with which they might have had only the most transitory acquaintance. One could read the wide world there, as one strolled down, what 'may be considered as public promenades'.23 Colonial cemeteries, of course, speak with especial poignancy of the rootlessness of one strand of the new capitalist class: James Loch of Brompton, Middlesex, lies near Mary Diron of Elliston, Roxburghshire, and Elizabeth Caswell of New South Wales in the Fort Canning Cemetery, Singapore.24 Kensal Green abounds with the bodies of East India merchants and soldiers in the army of Bengal or Madras who had the good fortune to survive long enough to die at home. Not all cemeteries, of course, were so cosmopolitan but, like the market economy, they knew no natural bounds; nor would their inhabitants have known each other. The churchyard, by contrast, was in principle at least, a geographically delimited Gemeinschaft of the dead, a gathering of dust belonging in some essential way to that, and no other, place. It was the right of each parishioner to be buried there and only there. 'The canon law principle was "ttbi decimas persolvebat vivus sepeliatur mortuus,"' so that a stranger or foreigner had 'no absolute right to burial in the parish where he died, except such right as arises out of necessity'. 'Burial in the parish churchyard is a common law right inherent in the parishioners', as the 1842 edition of Burns states the case. (Some authorities construed this as meaning that 'every person, except those hereafter noticed, may at this day be buried in the church-yard of the parish where he dies', although this interpretation was at variance with the principle that one had rights only in the parish to which one 'belonged'.)25 Generally speaking, the courts interpreted the basic canon and common law broadly, although where money was at stake, as in the burial of paupers, parishes pushed as far as possible the idea that some bodies had no place at all. An abiding sense of locality and place was at the root of all the controversies on this point: what constituted 'a stranger'? For example, the Court of Arches (Nevill v. Baker, 22 November 1862) held that a clergyman had been in error

22. W. Jones, The Diary of the Rev. William Jones, 1777-1821, Curate and Vicar of Broxbourne and the Hamlet of Hoddesdon, 1781-1821, ed. with an introduction by O.F. Christie (London and New York, 1929), pp. 155-56. 23. Galignani's Guide to Paris (Paris, 1814), p. 693; emphasis mine. 24. A. Harfield, Early Cemeteries in Singapore (Putney, 1988), pp. 18-24. 25. R. Burn, The Ecclesiastical Law, (9th ed, 1842), pp. 261ff.

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for refusing, on the grounds that she was a married woman and had through the residence of her husband ceased to be a parishioner, to read divine services over a woman buried in a family vault.26 In the famous case of the churchwardens of Harrow on the Hill the local authorities were admonished by the ecclesiastical judge for permitting strangers to be buried in their churchyard; they had no absolute right to grant such permission.27 (They did it, of course because, by local custom, they, and not the vicar, received the lion's share of the burial fee.) However broadly the canon law was interpreted in some instances, it remained true that the churchyard was for people of the parish and forbidden to strangers and that disputes were part of an elaborated discourse of local privileges and custom. The actual location of the churchyard, as the name implies, was also determined by a prior and longstanding commitment of space: by the location of the church. Extensions whenever possible were to contiguous space or if, as in central London, this proved impossible, to the nearest space possible. No such concerns affected the location of cemeteries. Like steam-powered cotton mills they could, in principle, be put anywhere. The absence of geographical constraints of colonial cemeteries is self-evident; they follow soldiers, merchants, civil servants and their wives or 'bebees' (Indian mistresses or common law wives) along the paths of empire. Calcutta's major cemetery got its name by taking over the deer park of Sir Elijah Impey. 'Obelisks, pagodas, etc. are erected at great expense', wrote Sophia Goldstrome, the narrator of Sir William Hickey's anonymously published novel of late eighteenth-century Calcutta life, 'and the whole spot is surrounded by as well-turned a walk as those you traverse in Kensington gardens, ornamented with a double row of aromatic trees.' A variety of economic concerns — not historical, religious or cultural associations — dictated the location of cemeteries in Britain as elsewhere: availability, closeness to markets, costs of land and costs of transport, soil conditions and so on. Nunhead was plopped down into an archetypal rural scene in which only wisps of smoke and the faintest outline of the dome of St Paul's suggested proximity to London.28 Some cemeteries improved cheap wastelands: Undercliffe is on a moor overlooking Bradford; Newcastle on Tyne's cemetery was carved from the rubbish-filled site of an old quarry. The proprietors of Brompton, on the other hand, made the mistake of paying Lord Kensington at least £20,000 — the amount of their mortgage — on an unimproved piece of property that would end up costing over £100,000 to develop, thereby eating up their profits. 26. H.W. Cripps, A Practical Treatise on the Laws Relating to the Church and the Clergy (London, 1845), p. 674, and chap. 4 generally. 27. Phillimore, The Ecclesiastical Law, p. 654. In Littlewood v. Williams this case was opened up a bit and the churchwardens were allowed to use their discretion if parishioners would suffer no ill effects. 28. Southwark Local History Library, PC 630 and PC 635 . The library also owns a lovely watercolour showing a rich farm with wheat in sheaves on the site of the future cemetery.


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J.C. Loudon, one of the leading landscape architects of the nineteenth century and the first major writer on cemetery design, understood that cemeteries had more in common with other properties on the urban land market than with Gray's country churchyard. Throughout his book he calculates the grave density required to generate a particular rate of profit — always more than his view of hygiene would allow. He also offers prescient advice on location generally: the price of land, he writes, is simply too high within ten miles of London; but several thousand acres of poor land could be had for £4-£8 per acre near Woking, Cobham and Horshall. It was land too poor to cultivate but fine for cemetery plants and cheap enough to allow less dense pauper burial than was economically possible in a cemetery like Kensal Green with its £2000 per acre improved cost.29 (The rational use of modern transport, ca novel and economic arrangement' whereby trains brought bodies and mourners twenty miles out of the metropolis, allowed Woking Cemetery profitably to bury a pauper for half the cost incurred at Norwood or Nunhead, even with two round trip tickets for mourners.)30 Spatial orientation itself took on new meanings in cemeteries. In churchyards burials tend to be with the head to the east and feet west; in Kensal Green or Undercliffe or Glasgow tombs were lined up to afford a view of the main paths or the city below.31 Parishioners favoured graves in the southern or eastern portion of the churchyard although they cost no less. In cemeteries grave location was price-sensitive and the result of management strategies: 'Resolved that 21 graves in section I in the unconsecrated part to be coloured pink, viz. reduced from £3 3s. Od. to £2 2s. Od in order to secure more effective drainage from section K.'32 If churchyards were the ideal imagined space of the autarchic parish, cemeteries were the burial-place for a world and a class without bounds. One can see the disintegration of a Gemeinschaft of the dead — a sort of clearing of the ground for new sorts of burial places — in the long string of controversies regarding parish interments beginning in the early eighteenth century and continuing well beyond the point where the notion of an ecclesiastical community ought to have had any currency. The original purpose of churchyard burial, as Richard Burn reported in 1767, was that neighbours as they come or go from worship might remember 'those whose

29. J.C. Loudon, On the Laying Out, Planting, and Managing of Cemeteries (London, 1843), p. 47. 30. Bermondsey Public Library, Bermondsey Collection, P.R.O., H.O. 44/39 Report of the Committee on the Subject of Closing the Churchyards and Burial-Grounds in St Olave's, Southwark (1854). 31. There actually has been very little archaeology done on churchyards. Various accounts of religious folklore make this claim regarding direction of burial and it is confirmed by the one plan which I have seen that is full enough to test the proposition — 'Map of St Gabriel's Church in St Mary's Churchyard' (London, 1874). 32. Bradford Central Library, MS 28 D77/1/1, minutes of directors' meeting, 29 May, 1857, Bradford Undercliffe Cemetery.

Cemeteries, Religion and the Culture of Capitalism


sepulchers they behold . . [and] put forth prayers for them unto god'. By the seventeenth century, when such popish practices no longer held sway, this pious practice had translated into a legally enforceable claim on belonging to a parish: 'every parishioner hath and always had a right to be buried' in that ground which was 'laid out inclosed for the common burial places of the. respective parishioners'.33 Church and churchyard were thus at the centre of a single community limited in space but extended in time through generations past, present and future. (The outstanding exception to this is Bunhill Fields, the famous extra-parochial burial ground in London, which bore witness to the size and cultural standing of urban nonconformity.) Because of this intimate connection between customary right and religious community, controversies about right to churchyard burial were a major arena for the creation and acceptance not just of religious but of cultural pluralism in general. Burial disputes remained of two kinds during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The first, and less revealing, sort involve what seem to be relatively unprincipled quarrels between the vicar and some parishioners. For example, the Rev. Thomas Bliss of Haworth near Bradford said that he was perfectly willing to read the service for the dead at the grave of a parishioner's child but that he refused to allow the body into the church prior to burial for good reasons: she had died of smallpox; he had hithertofore admitted 'none who had died of this dread disease'; and he believed that the canons permitted this exclusion. The vicar's letter to his ordinary hinted that more was involved. The father 'who has long been and now is excommunicated for the sin of fornication and who is suspected of divers thefts in the Parish' had asked him 'in a very impudent manner', and with too little notice. The grandfather who supposedly asked that the child be dug up and then reburied with a service, a request to which the vicar acceded, 'never goes to any place of worship and abused and interrupted me greatly in my duty at the burial', and then read over the service himself.34 By the nineteenth century such disputes played on a larger scale. The vicar of Cowley in 1875 refused to bury Frederick Merritt, a well-known slow under-arm bowler known as 'Moses' from his habit of quoting Scripture. The reason given was that he had led 'a notoriously bad life' and had been convicted of disrupting services. The body of the elderly gentleman remained unburied for over a week; hundreds of people tried to force the body into the church; the vicar was pummelled; the police were called. This was the third major set of confrontations at least between the Rev. J. Coley and his flock.35 Both cases obscure what were, in fact, major issues — the vicar's assumption that burial in the churchyard required membership in good standing in a moral 33. R. Burn, Ecclesiastical Law (2nd edn, 1767), 1, 235-36. 34. York, Borthwick Institute, R. Bp 8/25a, Bliss to archbishop of York, 18 May 1764. 35. This and the other burial cases are documented in various newspapers clippings collected as The Cowley Burial Case', Gough Adds. Oxon. c. 9 in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.


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community versus the parishioner's claim that it was matter of customary, secular right; the notion of a morally autarchic, homogeneous parish presided over by a priest versus that of a heterogeneous and more democratic community — under the guise of personal antagonisms between a pastor and his flock. In the legal struggles between dissenters and the Established Church over burial manifestly much more was at stake. On the one hand stood parishioners demanding the reading of burial services for their dead; on the other stood parish clergymen who felt themselves justified in determining who was and who was not a member of the parish community. The actual law on the matter was clear: anyone who had been baptised in the proper form was eligible for both the service and interment in consecrated ground. But the parochial clergy tended to interpret 'baptism in the proper form' as baptism by 'acknowledged, legal and established clergy', while against this a very old principle of canon law, oft adduced by dissenters, held that the status of the person performing baptism was irrelevant to its efficacy and that hence lay baptism was valid if irregular. Despite repeated confirmations of these principles by the courts, scores of fights over the right to burial broke out during the eighteenth and up to the end of the nineteenth centuries. The reason is clear enough: hatred and fear of cultural pluralism. The Rev. John Wright Wickes, the losing party in the precedent-setting suit of Kemp v. Wickes, lashed out at the 'piteous bewailings' of 'enthusiastic Huntingtonians'; he would, or so he said, accept the baptism of 'real dissenters' — those who preached in olden days — but not of the present lot of 'illiterati from the sperm of ignorance'. The clergyman, Kemp, and the bereaved father, Swigler, according to Wickes, ran competing conventicles in which 'males that had transgressed, and those who wished to transgress', coupled with similarly inclined females. Wickes was determined that the final mark of community membership, a burial service read at the graveside, be denied to the schismatic cultural deviants who opposed him; the dissenters held that their choice not to worship in the parish church did not entail their exclusion from human society.36 The rise of new dissent, especially the explosive growth of Methodism in Wales, completely shattered even the semblance of religious community upon

36. Both the informal and formal legal history of such quarrels deserves a full history. The Minute Books of the Protestant Dissenting Deputies in the Guildhall Library recount numerous queries and conflict resolutions that did not make it to the courts. See MS 3083/1-10. Bernard Lord Manning, The Protestant Dissenting Deputies, ed. O. Greenwood (Cambridge, 1952) gives an account of the deputies' work in general and of their efforts to resolve disputes of births, deaths, and marriages, in particular. A Sketch of the History and Proceedings of the Deputies Appointed to Protect the Civil Rights of the Protestant Dissenters (London, 1813) lists the cases in which the deputies were formally involved. On Kemp v. Wickes see The Judgement delivered Dec. 11, 1809, by the Hon. Sir John Nicholl . . . in the Court of Arches . . . in the cause of office promoted by Kemp, against Wickes, clerk (London 1810) and Wickes' unrepentant A Letter to the Right Revd. Spencer, Bishop of Peterborough . . . relative to the important question of Church Burial (Stamford, 1808), Dr Williams' Library 22:66:17(7). Wickes was rector of Wardley as well as chaplain to the duke of Cumberland.

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which old burial practices had been based, and death continued to expose these fractures with exquisite clarity. When the bishop of Lincoln in 1872 took the occasion of the refusal of one of his clergy to allow the title 'Reverend' on the gravestone of a Methodist minister to launch into a major attack on schismatics, he started a pamphlet war worthy of the eighteenth century. In 1878 the body of a two-year-old girl, the unbaptised daughter of an East Anglian labourer who did not believe in infant baptism, lay in her coffin for weeks by the churchyard wall — the vicar had physically blocked the entry gate — where she was viewed by ever larger crowds and the national press, as the 'privileges' of the Church of England came to seem more and more ridiculous.37 This scandal led to action. The Burials Amendment Act of 1880 guaranteed access even to consecrated ground with or without the services of any Christian church or denomination. Death had finally entered fully into the free market that private cemeteries had already pioneered. As Westgate Hill General Cemetery announced itself: 'Open alike to the whole human race, without difference or distinction', except of course the ability to pay.38 While churchyards had a deeply ambiguous relationship towards freehold property and payment for burial, cemeteries were predicated on being able to own one's burial place, free and clear and forever if one was able to pay enough. It was, on the one hand, a firm principle: as Simon Degge, author of a long-lived seventeenth-century guide to the law of the parish, put it in an oft-quoted phrase, 'by the custom of England' everyone had a right to burial 'without paying anything for breaking the soil'. The twelfth-century theologian Stephen Langton was the authority for the principle that 'payment of fees is not a condition precedent to the right of interment, because burial ought not to be sold'.39 On the other hand, Degge notes that 'by the custom of England' every parishioner has the right to 'be buried in any common part of the Church or Chancel, paying the accustomed fee to the Parson'. (He, in turn, may have had to share the fee with the churchwardens but that was another issue.) More generally, it had long been the custom to offer an 'oblation' to the vicar for any burial, a customary fee which was recognised by statute and was recoverable. Degge was arguing at the same time both that burial could not be sold and all parishioners had a right to free burial; and that burial could be sold and fees required. There is a bewildering set of cases on what was public and private, what one could or could not own in the churchyard, and who actually owned what. The principle that the vicar had the freehold in the church and grounds but the parishioners had the freehold in the actual soil helped very little, since local custom dictated who got what from various fees on the use of the soil.

37. Press coverage of this case has been collected in R. Fletcher, The Akenham Burial Case (London, 1974). 38. Leeds University, Brotherton Library, MS 421/119/118. 39. S. Degge, The Parson's Counsellor (London, 1676), p. 175; A.B. Stephens, A Practical Treatise (London 1848), pp. 216-217.


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There were also easements given by lay or ecclesiastical rectors to certain other properties giving these properties a claim on parts of the church — the vault or the floor of the chancel for example. Moreover the rector, or the vicar, or the churchwardens, might even have the right to fees in bodies not actually buried in their parish at all. Edward Topsal, vicar of St Botolph's, Aldersgate, for example, sued the heirs of Sir John Ferrers for burial fees because the deceased had expired in his parish, even though Topsal admitted that Sir John was buried elsewhere and by another clergyman. An ecclesiastical court in this case held that just because someone staying in an inn or passing through a parish happened to die there, the local vicar had no rights to the body. But later lawyers argued that, if Ferrers had really lived in his adopted parish rather than just dying there, he would have had to pay fees for burial there even if he was actually buried elsewhere. In the nineteenth century, when large numbers of paupers were transported out of the parish for burial, large amounts of money were at stake in such cases. In any case, the respective rights of various claimants on the church and churchyard were, like other customary rights, extremely intricate, often unclear and easily contested. Day-to-day practice was somewhat simpler. A few big parishes with new burial grounds actually set up fee schedules that resembled the finely-tuned price-lists of cemeteries. St James's Chapel and Burial Ground, for example, had a price-list three pages long, which gave the cost of tombs, vaults and common graves for adults, children and stillborn infants in each of four separate areas, along with an account of the division of fees between the rector, clerk-in-orders, sexton and churchwardens. But St James's had invested £6000 in the grounds and chapel and so was in much the same situation as a cemetery company.40 All London churches by 1838 offered at the very least a distinction between 'best' and 'common' ground, while most used three and even four levels each with different specified fees for 'strangers', for 'parishioners' and, in the case of St Pancras, for 'lodgers'.41 Few churches outside London seem to have gone so far toward a free market in graves and even the metropolitan churches remained governed by church and secular court interpretations of custom. While the social distinctions of life were not erased in a democracy of death, parish burial grounds never took on the ferocious significance which cemeteries were to come to have in the debate about the morality of the new economic order. The resigned irony of a Devon tombstone is a far cry from Balzac. Rastignac contemplates the impoverished 'third class' funeral of old Goriot in Pere Lachaise as painfully and powerfully significant: The incident, so trivial in itself, overwhelmed Rastignac, and a wave of desperate sadness swept over him. Night was falling, and a damp half-light fretted the 40. Westminster City Archives, D 1715, 'St James's Chapel and Burial Ground Minute Book, 1789-1847'. 41. J. Turner, Burial Fees of the Principal Churches, Chapels, and New Burial Grounds in London and its Environs (London, n.d. but c. 1838), Guildhall Library, Pam 5713. This was a publication for the trade.

Cemeteries, Religion and the Culture of Capitalism


nerves. He looked into the grave, and in that place the last tear of his youth was shed.42

The epithet in a country churchyard is gently ironic of the pathetic attempt made to erase the democracy of ashes: Here I lie by the chancel door; They put me here because I was poor. The further in, the more you pay, But here I lie as snug as they.43

The proprietors of the new cemeteries were not at all bashful about their relationship to money and property. They were absolutely clear on the difference between freehold and whatever other customary tenancies might have pertained to graves: 'There should be two descriptions of graves, public — where may be placed upon each other bodies of persons not connected by ties of family and kindred; and private — the exclusive property of purchasers.' Here is an almost parodic equation of the decent, respectable, middle-class family — a haven in the heartless world, bound by love and kinship — with exclusivity, privacy and retreat from community. Only the poor, the great unwashed, now dwell and die, indiscriminately, in public. Cost depended first of all on the 'character' of the grave — public or private — and then on depth (a charge for each extra foot) and quality (bricked or unbricked, vault, etc.).44 No project is more deserving of support than 'converting the Fir Park into a garden cemetery, particularly dedicated to those who can afford to purchase a grave and rear a monument', argued the project's proponents in Glasgow.45 Freehold graves were a commodity to sell in the open marketplace; if demand was sluggish, a cemetery company did what one might expect from any vendor: it advertised. In February 1844, still unable to turn a profit, the directors of the Brompton Cemetery solicited business in Punch, the Illustrated London Weekly, Literary Gazette, Sunday Times and John Bull, as well as in the daily papers in which they had been accustomed to advertise, adding the daily Standard Globe, and Sun for good measure.46 Really significant profits were in mass graves, a sort of wholesaling of interment. This took some doing. John Loudon had shown that pricing common interments on the basis of 'the market price of interments in the

42. H. de Balzac, Old Goriot, trans. Marion Ayton Crawford, (Harmondsworth, 1987), pp. 303^*. 43. Cited in D.J. Enright, The Oxford Book of Death (New York and Oxford, 1983), p. 322. 44. Leeds University, Brotherton Library, MS 421/121/41, 'Observations on the Advantages of a Public Cemetery, embracing all Christian Parties, in Shrewsbury'. 45. Strang, Necropolis, p. 37 (my emphasis). 46. P.R.O., Works 6/65-67, 'Minute Books of the West of London and Westminster Cemetery Company", Feb. 5 1844.


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best part of the best churchyards in Cambridge' would not do. If a company met hygienic standards (at least six feet above the last coffin; at least three feet between coffins; and a permanent moratorium on burial once the grave was full), a charge of £1 Os. Od. where a private grave cost £6 Os. Od. would not realise a 6 per cent return on capital to shareholders. They could settle for 3 per cent, disturb common graves after fourteen years — a practice of which he disapproved — or dig graves deeper and charge for the extra labour. What cemetery companies in fact did was to contract with poor law authorities on a per pauper rate — adult, child, or stillborn — and then pack in the bodies. A shareholder of the General Cemetery Company in Leeds wrote to the board suggesting that they adopt the practice already followed in Bradford and Manchester. 'The expense of making a grave seventeen or eighteen feet deep is about nine shillings', he noted: By going down a few feet deeper and not filling up the grave till we come within a few feet of the top I think that we might afford to bury for a small charge — I should say 4 shillings for infants, and 5 shillings for adults.47

In fact, his calculations were optimistic, but the right mix of bodies could yield a tidy profit: four stillborns at 2s. 6d. did not take up the room of one adult at 11s. 6d., so a cemetery like Bradford or Leeds could make as much as £23 per grave if the size distribution of dead paupers was optimal.48 This was, of course, not possible with every grave but all common graves seemed to have yielded more than comparable space given over to private burial. Still the profitability of cemeteries depended on keeping down fixed costs and maintaining proper accounting procedures. Some companies, Brompton in the first category and Nunhead in the second, failed miserably. (Others incidentally did very well: Low Hill Necropolis in Liverpool returned between 5 per cent and 20 per cent; York consistently yielded 4 per cent; Leeds earned 3-5 per cent on capital).49 Nunhead 'lost' £18,179 3s. 2d. over the years because its secretary Edward Buxton had fraudulently issued 2664 shares, paid dividends from co-mingled funds and siphoned company monies into his account. Brompton was plagued by one disaster after another. Land-filling and drainage sewers cost far more than expected; the catacombs leaked and an expensive malpractice suit against the builder did not recover costs; expensive litigation with their first architect ate up still more resources. Moreover, expenses were not kept in check. The company struck a disastrously disadvantageous deal with the London clergy: 'the large fee payable to the Incumbent of the Parish from whence the corpse is removed' ate up the proceeds of each pauper burial 47. Leeds University, Brotherton Library, Leeds General Cemetery Company, 24 Jan. 1842, MS 421/121/39. 48. Bradford Central Library, Bradford Cemetery, 'Interments in Public Graves', 28 D 77/14/5, p. 120. 49. University College, London, Chadwick Papers, box 46, printed 'Analysis of Information obtained respecting cemeteries in different towns in England.'

Cemeteries, Religion and the Culture of Capitalism


at the going per body rate. Raising fees pushed Brompton's charges above the market and obviously made it less attractive to parsimonious poor law authorities. Douceurs to undertakers were too high. Schemes such as forcing applicants for the job of chaplain to buy twenty-five shares at £25 a share as a condition for being considered and offering shareholders a £50 vault for £25 did not produce enough to avoid a forced sale to a burial board in 1852.50 For the first time in human history the care of the dead was unabashedly spoken of in the same language as the sale of cotton cloth or corporate equities. The cemetery as park might, as its proponents claimed, be far from the noise of the corn market or the stock exchange yet its actual workings placed it squarely in the marketplace on the one hand and the bourgeois family, withdrawn into itself, on the other. It is precisely this juxtaposition of worlds that allowed Balzac to make an allegory of the burial of Pere Goriot, that enabled pauper funerals to become so feared as the final sign of worthlessness, and that led critics of capitalism and an industrial economy — high-church Tories in journals like the Ecclesiologist, for example — to attack the new cemeteries so vociferously. In all sorts of other ways the cemetery was as much a way of imagining a new society as was the Great Exhibition. Death became increasingly but one more aspect of consumer culture. Cemetery companies could choose from a variety of styles as if from a pattern-book. In Leeds, one architect offered designs for a Grecian, Roman or Gothic chapel, prices unspecified; another provided rough estimates — 'Sepulchral' for £3400, Grecian for £3520, Gothic or English for £4500.51 The most famous of the nineteenth-century cemeteries, Highgate, is an almost post-modern pastiche of styles whose only reason for being thrown together was their supposed commercial appeal. It has a High Gothic entry way and is built in the shadow of a new 'Chaste Gothic' church; Gothic catacombs are built into the hill beneath the church. Through the gate and half way up the hill one encounters a sunken semi-circle of Egyptian tombs, entered by a tunnel whose mouth is guarded by two obelisks and an arch with vaguely oriental decoration. The actual doors of the Egyptian tombs, however, are of cast iron and have emblasoned on them inverted torches.52 Fashion, as A.D. Nock would have it, determined funeral architecture but its range was made possible only by the riches of industrial society. Cemeteries were triumphs of the march of progress. Having pointed out that Hull enjoyed the first hotel in the Italianate style outside London, civic promoters extolled the beauties of its ten acres 'most tastefully laid out with walks, and planted with trees and shrubs', with a keeper who 'pursues his floricultural labours con amore': a 'garden of delight', the cemetery

50. P.R.O., Works 6/65, 'Minutes of the Brompton Cemetery Company'. 51. Leeds University, Brotherton Library, 421/161/60 and 421/120/4. 52. The Mirror of Literature, Amusement and Instruction, Sept. 15, 1838 and Nov. 3, 1838.


Revival and Religion since 1700

which by 1851, after only four years, had accommodated 3445 interments.53 Northampton boasted of its general cemetery: 'The grounds are laid out with great taste': Norman style chapel, catacombs, a handsome lodge and services of every description guaranteed by deed of settlement.54 All of this is as far from Gray's country churchyard as the spinning-wheel is from the jenny. Like the new industrial machinery, the cemetery did more than reflect social change. It embodied it, making it manifest, translating it into emotionally resonant forms. Like Methodism, cemeteries might be regarded as an intermediary — a midwife to use Halevy's phrase — of social transformation. Through them, and of course in myriad other ways, a new sort of society imagined and thus culturally made itself.

53. The Visitor's Guide to Hull (Hull, 1852), pp. 23-24. 54. Northampton, Past and Present: A Handy Guide Book (Northampton, n.d. but c. 1852), p. 82.

11 The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914: A Preliminary Sketch Raphael Samuel PART ONE

'Puritan' is an unstable term, or, to put it more generously, it is a prodigal one, capable, at any given moment, of accommodating wildly discrepant meanings.1 Today, as a journalistic trope, it is freely applied to such disparate phenomena as Islamic fundamentalism,2 'new wave' American feminism, and the charismatic communities of New Ageism — not to speak of President Clinton's promised 'covenant' with the American people,3 or the 'Puritanical Tradition' in English design, traced back to the Arts-and-Crafts movement of the 1880s, and held responsible, in more recent years, for Laura Ashley and early Habitat style.4 It is subject to startling reversals, such as those which, in the space of the last twenty-five years, have moved it from Left to Right in the political spectrum. It changes colour and complexion when it crosses, or recrosses the Atlantic, a source, one might suggest, of mistaken identity as well as of semantic confusion, as in the current association of Puritanism with the sexually repressive. It has quite different histories in the four nations of Britain. It is also subject to a double dialectic in which nineteenth-century oppositions between Church and Chapel, Aesthetes and Philistines, Hellenes and Hebrews are reproduced; and nineteenth-century usages, when the term 'Puritan' was subject to a vast metaphorical inflation, count for more than the utterances of the Civil War sectaries or the Elizabethan divines. In another register, current equations of Puritanism and prudery, where not the byproduct of twentieth-century modernism's revolt against the Victorian, seem to date no further back than the 1880s and 1890s, when the 'Nonconformist 1. Thanks are due to the editors of this volume, for their patience with a piece which has had to change colour and shape more times than its subject; to Brian Harrison, for some excellent references; to Jonathan Clark, for advice on American sources; to Christopher Smout for help on Scottish history; and to Jon Cook, Christopher Hill, James Obelkevich and Alison Light. 2. Ernest Gellner, who in Muslim Society (Cambridge, 1981), devotes a chapter to what he calls the 'generic Puritanism' of Islam, offers an entirely different perspective; in a dense and fascinating argument, the 'Puritans' are the modernising elites pitting learning, philosophy and rationality — as well as austerity in personal conduct — against the flamboyance and messianism of popular religion. 3. D. Selbourne, 'After the Illusion, a New Covenant', Independent, 17 February 1993. 4. A. Sebba, Laura Ashley: A Life by Design (London, 1990).



Revival and Religion since 1700

Conscience' so dramatically overreached itself and seemed for a brief period to be the arbiter of public life.5 Surfacing, as a term of reproach, in the ecclesiastical disputes which followed the Elizabethan settlement, given a new turn by the pamphleteers of the 1600s, and another by the playwrights and wits, the word Puritan had a vertiginous existence during the first seventy years of its career,6 when it was at the mercy of both satirical invention and polemical excess. Singled out by the orthodox as a malignant growth, treated as a generic term for dissidence, but owned up to by none, it is difficult to disentangle from what historians have taken to calling 'hot Protestantism'.7 As a party label, it was superseded, at the outbreak of the Civil War, by 'Presbyterian' and 'Independent', while as a negative signifier or nickname it was lumped together with those 'sectaries' and 'schismatics', Anabaptists, Socinians and Ranters whom the more conservative denounced as 'despisers of government', 'disturbers of the public peace' and 'destroyers of all civil relations and subordinations'.8 The army agitators, in the Putney Debates, were wont to speak of themselves as representatives of the 'communion of saints';9 Oliver Cromwell, in his correspondence and 5. R. Helmstadter, 'The Nonconformist Conscience' in P. Marsh, ed. , The Conscience of the Victorian State (Hassocks, 1979), pp. 135-72 argues interestingly that the nonconformist conscience took to the public stage at precisely the moment when nonconformity lost its bearings and began its secular decline. D.W. Bebbington, The Nonconformist Conscience: Chapel and Politics, 1870-1914 (London, 1982) is a more descriptive account. There is a rapidly growing literature on the purity movement of the 1880s and 1890s, identifying it, disconcertingly, with both the emancipatory movement of feminism and the repressive one of homophobia. See L. Bland, 'Feminist Vigilantes of Late-Victorian England' in C. Smart, ed., Regulating Womanhood: Historical Essays on Marriage, Motherhood and Sexuality, (London, 1992); Frank Mort, Dangerous Sexualities: Medico-Moral Politics in England since 1830 (London, 1987). According to O.E.D. the first coupling of 'prude' with 'puritan' occurs in a novel by Mrs. Braddon. Before the 1880s, 'prude' seems to have been a kind of sexual identity rather than a name given to purity campaigners. Among other things it was a derogatory word for 'spinsters' and 'old maids' though Habits of Good Society (London, 1858) uses it as a synonym for the 'bluestocking'. Inquiry into earlier phases in what is today called prudery might lead one back to such distinctly un-Puritan figures as Beau Brummel (so fastidious that he would not speak to a girl whom he had once seen eating cabbage) or Lord Chesterfield or even Adam Smith and those republican ideas of virtue which an influential school of historians likes to call 'civic humanism'. 6. For some revisionist attempts to expel 'Puritan' from the scholarly lexicon, see C.H. George, 'Puritanism as History and Historiography', Past and Present, 41 (1968), pp. 77-104; C.H. and K. George, The Protestant Mind of the English Reformation, 1570-1640 (Princeton, 1961); B. Hall, 'Puritanism: the Problem of Definition', Studies in Church History, ii (1965), pp. 283-96; Michael J. Finlayson, Historians, Puritanism and the English Revolution: The Religious Factor in English Politics before and after the Interregnum (Toronto, 1983). 7. P. Collinson, The Elizabethan Puritan Movement (London, 1967). In this account 'hot Protestantism' was part of a general forward movement which came to a well-organised climax at the Hampton Court Conference of 1604. More recently, when there has been a determined attempt to expel the word 'Puritan' from the historian's lexicon, and to by-pass it in the Civil War, 'hot Protestantism', like everything else in seventeenth-century studies, seems to be looking more and more conservative. Idem, The Religion of Protestants: The Church in English Society, 1590-1625 (Oxford, 1985). 8. From the Large Petition of the Levellers, a Thomason tract reprinted in A.S.P. Woodhouse, Puritanism and Liberty: Being the Army Debates (1647-9) (London, 1951). 9. The Clarke Papers ed. C.H. Firth, Camden Soc. (1891), i, pp. Ixxiii-lxxiv.

The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914


addresses, when referring to those whom nineteenth-century historians were to call 'Puritan', prefers the more inclusive 'people of God'. 'The name of Puritan is from this time to be sunk', remarks the editor of Neal's History of the Puritans (1732-38), the only work on the subject to be published before the nineteenth century. 'They are for the future to be spoken of under the distinction of Presbyterians, Erastians, and Independents, who had all their different views.'10 He was referring to the Westminster Assembly of 1644. By this time 'Puritan' was being overtaken, as a portmanteau term, by 'nonconformist' and 'dissenter'; in the 1650s it was already beginning to be referred to in the past tense;11 in Reliquiae Baxterianae it is a volcano that had become extinct. J.R. Green, in his Short History of the English People (1874), wrote that the 'real victory' of Puritanism was posthumous, and that it was only after the defeat of 1660, and the ejection of the nonconformist clergy under the Clarendon Code, that it began to embody itself in life-styles (he credited it with the creation of the domestic ideal of the home), and that its deeper influence on civil society began to be felt.12 More recently Christopher Hill, N.H. Keeble and others have been at pains to argue that Puritanism's greatest literary monuments came from 'the experience of defeat'.13 Yet the term 'Puritan' itself barely survived, either as a 'reproachful name' or as a synonym for the Good Old Cause. It hardly figures in eighteenth-century denunciations (or advocacies) of religious enthusiasm. Hume, in his well-known essay on Enthusiasm and Superstition, refers to the Independents ('the . . . nearest to the quakers in fanaticism'), the Levellers and (in Scotland) the Covenanters.14 Adam Smith in his plea for popular education, and his remarks on the baleful effects of fanaticism, speaks of 'the Independents' of the Civil War period ('a set no doubt of very wild enthusiasts') but notes that the provisions made by dissent for education 'seem very much to have abated the zeal and activity of those teachers'.15 'The people called Methodists', denounced as enthusiasts and practising a religion of the heart rather than one of the head, initially derived their doctrinal framework, as is well known, more 'from a High Church than from a Calvinist environment'.16 When not attacked as 'Ranters' they were apt to be reviled, in their early days, as crypto-Catholics or 'papists'.17 Nor does Puritan seem to have entered eighteenth-century literary discourse. 10. D. Neal, The History of The Puritans, 5 vols (London, 1822), ii, p. 116. 11. Images of English Puritanism, ed. L.A. Sasek (Baton Rouge, LA, 1989). 12. J.R. Green, A Short History of the English People (London, 1960), ii, pp. 589-94, 434. 13. C. Hill, The Experience of Defeat: Milton and Some Contemporaries (London, 1984). N.H. Keeble, The Literary Culture of Nonconformity in Later Seventeenth-Century England (Leicester, 1987). For a more Augustan interpretation, D. Davie, A Gathered Church, the Literature of the English Dissenting Interest (London, 1978). 14. David Hume, 'Of Superstition and Enthusiasm', Essays, Moral, Political and Literary (London, 1875), pp. 114-20. 15. Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (London, 1895 edn), pp. 619-20. For Smith's attack on the newer (unnamed) fanatic sects, ibid., pp. 625-27. 16. J.D. Walsh, 'Origins of the Evangelical Revival', in G.V. Bennett and J.D. Walsh, ed., Essays in Modern Church History (London, 1966), p. 155. 17. Bishop Lavington, The Enthusiasm of Methodists and Papists Compared (London, 1749); Robert Southey, The Life of Wesley, 2 vols (London, 1925), ii, p. 293 repeats the old canard.


Revival and Religion since 1700

Humble virtue is not called 'Puritan' by Gray in his Elegy, even when he is invoking 'mute, inglorious Miltons' and Village Hampdens'. The 'Puritan' novels of Defoe and Richardson, which literary scholars have taught us to read as exemplifications of a Calvinist aesthetic, carry no sectarian message.18 Toland made Milton into a Whig;19 Dr Johnson, in his Lives of the Poets — passing lightly over the Civil War years, and noting with satisfaction that Milton's last tract (a Treatise of True Religion) was 'modestly written, with respectful mention of the Church of England, and an appeal to the Thirty-Nine Articles' — speaks of Milton's political notions as 'those of an acrimonious and surly republican'.20 It was the nineteenth century which turned Milton back into a Puritan. On the other side of the Atlantic, too, it seems, Puritanism was in eclipse, as a trope if not as a family of beliefs, until, as literary scholars argue, it was 'reinvented' in the 1830s and 1840s by the writers of the American Renaissance.21 'Presbyterian' rather than 'Puritan' was the generic name given to the gathered churches and it was also the polemical term bandied back and gathered forth in the controversies leading up to the Revolution. The Declaration of Independence took its language from the eighteenth-century enlightenment rather than the seventeenth-century divines.22 Religious energy, after the Great Awakening of 1739-40, took direction and shape from Revivalism and Methodism. Before the nineteenth century, Puritanism was given little more than a walk-on part in histories of the Civil War. As Caroline Robbins and others have shown, the eighteenth-century 'Commonwealthmen', though taking their inspiration from the writings of the Interregnum, were secular in spirit, harking back to the Civil War republicans rather than to the Saints, and the histories written under their influence — such as Catherine Macaulay's — reflect this.23 The eighteenth-century nonconformists, a people apart, surviving on the rugged peripheries of national life, or in obscure town meeting-houses, whilst their American and Scottish co-religionists had the authority of 'lawful ministers' or a kirk, were eager to live down their regicide past. In the earlier part of the century, when their numbers were if anything in decline, they were only too anxious to prove their loyalty to the crown;24 the 'Revolution principles' to which, like the Whigs, they clung, were not the antinomian ones of the Civil War, but those of 1688, the 'grand event' when 'despotism' drew 18. I. Watt, The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding (Harmondsworth, 1981); M. Butler, Jane Austen and the War of Ideas (Oxford, 1987), pp. 50, 64, 70, 72, 74. 19. John Toland, The Life of John Milton (London, 1741). 20. Samuel Johnson, Lives of the Poets, 2 vols (Everyman edn, 1925), i, pp. 89 and 93. 21. L. Buell, New England Literary Culture from Revolution through Renaissance (Cambridge, 1986). 22. G. Wills, Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence (London, 1980). 23. C. Robbins, The Eighteenth-Century Commonwealthman (Cambridge, MA, 1959); B. Hill, The Republican Virago (Oxford, 1992). 24. D. Neal, The History of the Puritans, ii, pp. xi-xiii for an egregious example.

The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914


its last breath; the Revolution which had given them 'religious liberty'.25 Those who did nurse memories of the Good Old Cause, like the beleaguered group of Cromwellians affectionately remembered in one of Crabbe's Tales, seem to have done so as an almost private passion.26 Thomas Fuller, the first historian of the Civil War, had wished that the word 'Puritan' could be 'banished', so many were the confusions attached to it.27 His successors gave it short shrift. Clarendon, famously rebuked by Sir Charles Firth for writing the history of a religious revolution 'in which the religious element is omitted',28 makes no mention of Puritanism either in his character sketches or his narrative of the Civil War, though he refers darkly to 'seditious' preachers who stirred up trouble in 1642. Cromwell, in his religion, was a great dissembler: 'whilst he looked upon the Presbyterian humour as the best incentive to rebellion, no man was more presbyterian; he sung all psalms with them to their tunes, and loved the longest sermons as much as they'.29 David Hume, in his luminous History of England, blames religious fanaticism for what he believed to be a disaster; credits 'the Presbyterian religion' with responsibility for the outbreak of the Civil War; in his account of the Commonwealth and Protectorate he pays tribute to Cromwell's cunning in dealing with 'the pretended saints of all denominations' and playing on 'Protestant zeal'. Like other pre-nineteenth-century historians, monarchical or republican, Whig or Tory, he treats Cromwell as a usurper, a soldier or a statesman rather than a soul-striver — the character which was so to captivate the readers of Carlyle's Letters and Speeches.™ Like other eighteenth-century historians, too, Hume held the Civil War in low esteem, not as that heroic event which was accorded status in the Victorian and Edwardian school-room, but rather as a melancholy, if instructive, record of failure. Hume's History held the stage for nearly a hundred years: it was perhaps under its influence that, in the late 1830s, the Commonwealth remained for many a military usurpation, and Cromwell the arch-dissembler whose 'religious as well as ... republican professions had been mere baits to catch men's opinions'.31

25. Ibid., v, p. 279. This is taken from an afterword by Neal's editor. The Toleration Act (1690), wrote the first historians of eighteenth-century dissent, 'may be considered the Magna Carta of the dissenters': David Bogue and James Bennett, History of the Dissenters from the Revolution in 1688 to the Year 1808, 4 vols (London, 1808-12), i, p. 122. For eighteenth-century dissent's talismanic use of Locke, Roger Thomas, 'Philip Doddridge and Liberalism in Religion', in Philip Doddridge: His Contribution to English Religion, ed. G.F. Nuttall (London, 1951), pp.125-29. 26. George Crabbe, Tales (London, 1812). 27. Thomas Fuller, The Church History of Britain, ed. J.S. Brewer (Oxford, 1845), pp. 86-87, quoted in C.H. George, 'Puritanism as History and Historiography', Past and Present, 41 (1968), p. 93. 28. C.H. Firth, Essays, Historical and Literary (London, 1932), p. 119. 29. Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England, 6 vols (Oxford, 1888), iv, p. 305. 30. David Hume, The History of England, 16 vols (London, 1824 edn), iii. 31. W. Smyth, Lectures on Modern History, 2 vols (1840; London, 1854 edn), i, p. 451; S. Maunder, The Treasury of History (London, 1839), p. 388.


Revival and Religion since 1700

In the nineteenth century the word 'Puritan' was rescued from near oblivion and was subject to a vast metaphorical inflation, without which it would be difficult to account for its subsequent versatility, or its salience in present-day historical and sociological thought. It reentered the field of religious and political controversy, providing a newly-awakened and increasingly militant nonconformity both with a symbolic inheritance and a source of borrowed prestige. Transposed from the field of doctrine to that of personal conduct, it provided the self-help manuals with their exemplars, housemasters and Sunday School superintendents with their character training ideals. In the hands of Bible-carrying sergeants and town missionaries it helped to Christianise the British Army. As represented by the self-sacrificing, high-minded heroines of George Eliot (she is insistent on the 'Puritan' character of Dorothea Brooke, though giving her an Anglican upbringing and marrying her off to a clergyman), or such soul-strivers as Hardy's Clym Yeobright and Jude Fawley,32 it offered alternative ideas of masculinity and femininity to those associated with the worlds of rank and fashion. The effect on historiography, particularly at the level of pedagogy, was momentous. The Puritans, no more than anonymous, 'factious' clergymen or preachers in the pages of Clarendon and Hume, were now represented by the towering figures of Cromwell, Milton and Bunyan. The Civil War, elevated from an Interregnum into an epic, became 'the Puritan Revolution', the rubric under which it has been studied by generations of undergraduates; it is now so deeply ingrained that even the most erastian and iconoclastic of seventeenthcentury scholars finds it impossible to dispense with.33 'Puritan Revolution' was a neologism coined, it seems, by Guizot,34 popularised (though he did not use the phrase) by Carlyle, and assimilated to the constitutional proprieties (as well as domesticated for the university examination syllabuses) by Gardiner and Firth. In the schools, where, as Valerie Chancellor notes in History for their Masters, the tone of textbooks became markedly more parliamentary in sympathy as the century advanced,35 it replaced the 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688 as the central event in the national past, allowing for and even encouraging a two-camp interpretation of English history, where previously there had been something closer to a consensus, and positively inviting the use of history for

32. For a brief but illuminating discussion, see V. Newey, 'The Disinherited Pilgrim: Jude the Obscure and The Pilgrim's Progress', Durham University Journal, new series, xlix (i), Dec. 1987. 33. H.R. Trevor-Roper, 'The Continuity of the English Revolution', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6th series, i (1991), pp. 121-35. 34. I owe the Guizot reference to Christopher Hill. 35. V. Chancellor, History for their Masters: Opinion in the English History Textbook, 1800-1914 (Bath, 1970), p. 52.

The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914


moral argument.36 In adult education, where debate was the chief medium through which history was learned, and in the public schools, where the debating club was one of the few arenas where 'modern' history had some place, the rights and wrongs of the Civil War were earnestly rehearsed: 'Was the revolution under Cromwell to be attributed to the tyrannical conduct of Charles, or to the democratic spirit of the times?' This was the subject chosen by the Oxford Union Society, in 1829, for its first debate.37 Twenty years on, in the nearby town of Wallington, after what the enthusiastic secretary declared was the most momentous debate which had ever taken place in the town's history (it went on for seven successive nights), the young men's Mutual Improvement Society, after taking a vote (in the most advanced manner of the day) by ballot, decided by a large majority that 'with the exception of sometimes allowing his religion to degenerate into enthusiasm and consenting to the death of the king . . . a better Christian, a more noble-minded spirit, a greater warrior, a more constant man (than Oliver Cromwell) has scarcely ever appeared on the face of the earth'.38 The following meeting at St Thomas's Institute, Hackney, E. London, was minuted in 1876: Nov. 28. The elocution class met for an evening's discussion 'Oliver Cromwell' being the subject. The chair was taken by Mr Stoddart and the proceedings opened by a short sketch of the life of Cromwell. Mr Moore then laid several charges against Cromwell and Mr Ford at great length answered most of the charges and it was put to the Meeting whether Cromwell murdered Charles for his own aggrandisement or whether he did what is laid to his charge from inspired motives. 11 were for Oliver and 4 against. One of the latter Mr Moore afterwards said that he had taken his place that evening against Cromwell for the sake of argument but in reality he upheld his actions.39

The discovery of Puritanism, in Britain as in North America, was in the first place a literary phenomenon. It owed a great deal, no doubt, to what one might 36. A Board of Education guide to teaching history in Secondary Schools (1908) runs as follows: It will be desirable to pass over with the very briefest notice those periods, the history of which is merely a record of bad government, as e.g. the reign of Edward II, or those which are occupied with complicated and often squalid political intrigues, which interesting and instructive as they may be to mature historical students, offer little that is useful to younger pupils . . . For this reason it will often be desirable to pass over almost without mention much of the internal history of the eighteenth century (e.g. the struggles between the different sections of the Whig Party, or the whole of the Wilkes episode), much of the political history of Charles IPs reign, the internal history of the Lancastrian period, the civil war of Stephen's reign . . . in order to secure more time for a fuller treatment of events such as the Crusades, the Civil War, the reign of Elizabeth, the great wars for Colonial supremacy. This is quoted in R. Samuel, 'Continuous National History' in R. Samuel, ed., Patriotism: The Making and Unmaking of British National Identity, 3 vols (London, 1989), i, p. 13. 37. H.A. Morrah, The Oxford Union, 1823-1923 (London, 1923), p. 10. I am grateful to Brian Harrison for this reference. 38. Oxford Chronicle, 14 Feb. 1852. 39. Hackney Reference Library, St Thomas's Institute Magazine, Dec. 1876; for some other examples at this time, see also Warrington Guardian, 24 Feb. 1877; ibid., 14 March 1877.


Revival and Religion since 1700

call the resurrectionist turn in historical thought in which 'philosophy teaching by example' was underpinned, or overlain, by a vivid sense of the past as a historical present. The Lake poets made some contribution to it. Coleridge was one of the first literary voices to be raised in favour of Bunyan. Southey's 1830 edition of The Pilgrim's Progress, carrying the imprimatur of the poet laureate, marked Bunyan's entry into the literary pantheon after a century and a half of well-bred put-downs — among them David Hume's. A more indirect echo of Bunyan (it has been argued) were Wordsworth's pilgrim-like wanderers and solitaries.40 A late Ossianism might help to account for Macaulay's 'Battle of Naseby' (1824), a favourite recitation piece for schoolboys.41 Byronism has a part to play in another favourite recitation piece, Felicia Hemans's 'Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers': 'the heavy night hung dark . . . on the wild New England shore'.42 Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter, set in seventeenth-century New England, is a Gothic narrative of entrapment. In Britain the discovery of Puritanism was prepared by a much more widespread revolt against the politeness and polish of eighteenth-century literature, a positive appetite for the unruly, the spontaneous and the stressful. Macaulay, hailing Southey's edition of Pilgrim's Progress, used it as an occasion to settle old scores: 'the dialect of plain working men', Bunyan had shown, was perfectly sufficient 'for every purpose of the poet, the orator and the divine': Cowper said forty or fifty years ago, that he dared not name John Bunyan in his verse, for fear of moving a sneer. To our refined forefathers, we suppose, Lord Roscommon's Essay on Translated Verse, and the Duke of Buckingham's Essay on Poetry, appeared to be compositions infinitely superior to the allegory of the preaching tinker. We live in better times; and we are not afraid to say, that, though there were many clever men in England during the latter half of the seventeenth century, there were only two minds which possessed the imaginative faculty in a very eminent degree. One of these minds produced the Paradise Lost, the other The Pilgrim's Progress.43

Linda Colley, in her otherwise splendid discussion of eighteenth-century Protestant nationalism (in Britons: Forging the Nation), says of The Pilgrim's Progress that it was, like Foxe's Book of Martyrs, a 'canonical' text. She points out that it had reached its 57th edition by 1789.44 But, as N.H. Keeble has shown, Bunyan's literary reputation was almost non-existent before the Romantics, even among those who recommended The Pilgrim's Progress for religious instruction.45 Joseph Addison cited Bunyan as evidence that anyone 40. V. Newey, 'Wordsworth, Bunyan and the Puritan Mind', English Literary History, 41 (1974), pp. 212-32. 41. Lord Macaulay, Lays of Ancient Rome (London, 1892 edn), pp. 95-98. 42. The Poetical Works of Mrs Felicia Hemans (London, n.d.). 43. Lord Macaulay, 'John Bunyan' (1831) in Critical and Historical Essays, 2 vols (Everyman edn, London, 1907), ii, p. 410. 44. L. Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837 (London, 1992), pp. 28-29. 45. N.H. Keeble, 'Bunyan and his Reputation' in N.H. Keeble, ed., Bunyan Tercentenary Essays (Oxford, 1988), pp. 243-51.

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could gain a popular following, regardless of merit. David Hume, with his fastidious enlightenment taste, regarded Bunyan as beneath contempt. Whoever would assert an equality of genius and eloquence between . . . BUNYAN

and ADDISON, would be thought to defend no less an extravagance, than if he had maintained a mole-hill to be as high as TENERIFE, or a pond as extensive as the ocean.46

The years from 1820 to 1920 might fairly be described as Bunyan's century. In New England, where The Pilgrim's Progress reached a peak of popularity in the 1840s, it was exploited to strengthen millennial ideas, to arouse hopes of raising Utopia in the wilderness (such as the disastrous project which Louisa May Alcott's father engaged in), and to supply imagery for the antislavery movement. In Britain, it supplied the original for whole new classes of children's literature, such as the 'waif stories which figure so prominently in Sunday School prize books; while a secularised version of it enjoyed immense popularity in the brief lives which make up Samuel Smiles's Self-Help, Character and Thrift. The working-class autobiography, a literary sub-genre, born in the 1840s, which chronicled the pursuit of 'learning under difficulties', and pictured life as a succession of struggles, is another secular analogue. Thus the autobiography of Joseph Arch, the farm workers' leader, is cast as a progress from darkness to light. It starts with a series of parables illustrating the harsh lot of the farm labourers ('like the children of Israel waiting for someone to lead them out of the land of Egypt'). 'Sore at heart', he writes, commenting on the divisions which appeared in the union ranks, '. . . never — no not when the storm was at its highest, or the fight waxed hottest and fiercest — did I lose heart altogether, and fall a prey to the ugly old Giant Despair'.47 Robert Tressell's The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, British socialism's one serious contribution to English literature, is cast in the form of a Bunyanesque allegory, likewise ending with a mystic vision of the Celestial City.48 At the very end of the period (as Paul Fussell shows in The Great War and Modern Memory], The Pilgrim's Progress took on a new lease of life as the soldier's comforter. 49 Historiographically, the rehabilitation of Puritanism may be said to have begun with the Whig revival in post-1809 Scotland, when after the long night of Tory hegemony, radicals began to put their heads above the parapet. Thomas M'Crie's Life of John Knox (1812), eagerly promoted by the new Edinburgh Review, rehabilitated a figure who, to the historians of the Scottish Enlightenment, as to kirk 'moderates', was the very embodiment of gloomy fanaticism. The book, Halevy remarks, signalled the opening of a new epoch in 46. David Hume, 'Of the Standard of Taste' in R. Sharrock, ed., The Pilgrim's Progress: A Casebook (London, 1976), p. 50. 47. The Life of Joseph Arch by Himself (London, 1898), pp. 252-53. 48. Robert Tressell, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (London, 1965), p. 584. 49. P. Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (Oxford, 1977), pp. 137-44, 152, 168-69.


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Scottish thought.50 M'Crie, reared in the 'primitive strictness' of the secessionist branch of the kirk, which he later served as a minister, was a life-long liberal. As a student in the early 1790s he took a 'warm interest' in French political movements; in 1822 he mobilised Scottish opinion in support of the Greek struggle for independence; in 1830 he took part in antislavery agitation.51 He entered historical controversy to vindicate the Covenanters against the strictures of Sir Walter Scott.52 His histories are marked by a strong national feeling and an even stronger republican one (after Knox he went on to write a biography of Andrew Melville). His Knox is a man of inflexible principle; he is also a political reformer, making monarchy quake before his will. Scottish Chartists accepted M'Crie's reading of Knox with enthusiasm. Knox, to the Glasgow-based Chartist Circular, was 'a zealous Radical Reformer — a Democrat — a Republican', even a 'physical force Chartist . . . Let us honour his name — respect his ashes, and pray God, soon to send us another John Knox.'53 M'Crie's Knox, which preceded Carlyle's Cromwell by some thirty years, anticipated some of its most genial tropes — above all the biographical approach to the study of the past and the belief that the historian's subjects should be able to speak in their own words. Knox's correspondence, taken from a hitherto unused manuscript, was one of the substantial bases of his work. McCrie uses it, as Carlyle did with Cromwell's letters, to make his subject humanly credible, and indeed admirable. Where the philosophic historians of the enlightenment were delighted to measure their distance from the past, treating history as a record of the 'crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind', he on the contrary reverenced it and conceived himself in some sort as the medium who allowed it to voice its faith. M'Crie also anticipates the talismanic importance which nineteenth-century writers — the novelists, historians and poets no less than the moralists and the pedagogues — were to attach to the idea of 'character'. The work of a clergyman and a doctor of divinity, passionately engaged in the ecclesiastical controversies of his own time, as well as in those of the Reformation, M'Crie's Knox is nevertheless more concerned with moral qualities than with doctrine. What makes Knox heroic is his simplicity. Faithful unto death, he carries a two-handed sword to defend the martyr Wishart against would-be assassins. Despising worldly advancement, he refuses a bishopric 'for conscience's sake'. Humble to God and haughty to man, he refuses to bow the knee to his monarch. M'Crie's Knox, in short, is one of those 'pattern-men' (to take 50. E. Halevy, History of the English People in the Nineteenth Century, 6 vols (London, 1961), i, p. 465. 51. Life of Thomas M'Crie, D.D. by his Son, the Rev. Thomas M'Crie (Edinburgh, 1840), pp. 19, 276-77, 417. 52. T. M'Crie, Vindication of the Covenanters in a Review of The Tales of my Landlord (Edinburgh, 1845). 53. 'Literary Sketches: John Knox' in the Chartist Circular, 80 (1841), p. 338. I am grateful to my student Alan Weaver for this reference.

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the phrase used by Carlyle in his Cromwell) by which the nineteenth-century literature of self-improvement set such store. The discovery of the 'Puritan' Milton, and his rescue from 'that elaborate libel on our great epic poet',54 Dr Johnson's Life, preceded Carlyle's discovery of the 'Puritan' Cromwell by some twenty-five years. Indeed Carlyle, who read through Milton's prose works with great enthusiasm in 1822, originally seems to have intended to write a biography of the first rather than the second.55 The publication of the De doctrina Christiana, discovered in 1823 and printed two years later, was an important moment here, showing Milton as a passionate and heterodox religionist, not making his peace with the Anglican church (as Dr Johnson had persuaded himself) but, on the contrary, in the last year of his life, making secret preparations to publish his heretical views in Holland.56 Macaulay, in his 1825 article on Milton in the Edinburgh Review (the essay which made him famous) was wary about where to place Milton theologically, but his enthusiasm for the Puritans — 'the most remarkable body of men, perhaps, which the world has ever produced', as also for Milton as a religious poet and as a radical — was unbounded. 57 The 1830s saw a flurry of 'Puritan' lives of the poet. Still more pertinent for the radical rereading of Milton was the discovery of his pamphlets and prose. Popular publication followed and by the early 1840s, it seems, the Areopagitica was establishing itself as a radical classic. One of those who took it up was the young Edinburgh-educated, Chartist-sympathising editor of the Leeds Times, Samuel Smiles. For Smiles, Bob Morris tells us, the seventeenth century was Milton: He accepted with great fervour the Miltonic belief that in free discussion truth would prevail, and each week the Leeds Times carried as its headpiece the quotation from Areopagitica, 'Give me the liberty to know to utter and to argue freely according to conscience above all other liberties'. Smiles identified with Milton in his campaigns against abuse and privilege. The opposition of the privileged to popular suffrage became 'scrannel straw voices', an echo from 'Lycidas' which neatly merged attacks on bishops, church establishments and monarchy from seventeenth- and nineteenth-century radicals: 'Would we have a revival of the fine old Puritan spirit of the days of Cromwell, Hampden, Pym, Elliott and others. Milton thou shouldst be living at this hour.'58

Masson's Life of Milton, published in six volumes between 1859 and 1880 and dedicated to reclaiming Milton as a revolutionary, as a radical religionist 54. G.O. Trevelyan, The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay (Oxford, 1978 edn), p. 109. 55. J.G. Nelson, The Sublime Puritan: Milton and the Victorians (Madison, WI 1963), p. 82. 56. John Milton, A Treatise on Christian Doctrine, trans. Charles R. Sumner (London, 1825). 57. Macaulay, 'Milton', Critical and Historical Essays, i, pp. 150-94, at p. 185. 58. R.J. Morris, 'Samuel Smiles and the Genesis of Self-Help: The Retreat to a Petit Bourgeois Utopia', Historical Journal, 24, (1981), pp. 89-109, at p. 94.


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and as an enlightened spirit, carried this work to new heights. The work, a vast undertaking, seems to have begun with the idea of contextualising Milton's poetry, but it swelled, by degrees, into c a continuous History of his Time'.59 Masson has some claim to being a founding father of English literary scholarship (his edition of De Quincey, like the Life of Milton, is still a standard work). He was also, by the standard of his own days, or ours, a remarkable historical scholar, and a pioneer of archive-based research. He made use, for the first time, of Milton's academic essays, 'written while he was a student at Cambridge'; inspected parish registers for Milton's 'pedigree'; consulted the British Museum manuscripts for Milton's relations to the literature of the reign of Charles I; and the Milton manuscripts at Trinity College, Cambridge, to attempt to determine, by the handwriting of the original drafts, 'dates and other particulars'. Above all, as he records in the preface to Volume III, there were the manuscripts at the State Paper Office, all of them, for the period he was researching, 'utterly uncalendared'.60 Masson was a great democrat, an enthusiast for the revolutions of 1848, a lifelong friend of Mazzini and the first secretary of the Society of the Friends of Italy. He was a champion of women's rights and a pioneer of higher education for women.61 His literary and historical work bears the reflection of these causes and at various points in the commentary he is at pains to align Milton with more contemporary radical causes: temperance agitation; the movement for divorce law reform; popular education; minority rights. But on the central issue of religion, there is no faint attempt to corral his author or to re-write his thoughts on party lines. On the contrary, as a good scholar and one who seems to have taken some delight, albeit vicariously, at the expression of antinomian views, he positively rejoices at Milton's heterodoxy, and the impossibility of pinning him down. Here is the considered conclusion of his work: Milton cannot be identified . . . with any of the English sects or denominations of his time. A professed Congregationalist in Church-polities, though with a tendency to absolute Individualism, a strenuous Protestant in the main principle of reverence for no other external authority in religion than that of the Bible, and a confirmed anti-Prelatist and Anti-State-Church-man, he had manifest points of sympathy theologically with several of the massive sects of English Nonconformists, but complete agreement with none of them . . . It would be a mistake to say of Milton, on any of these accounts, or on account of his 59. David Masson, The Life of John Milton, 6 vols (London, 1859-80), i, p. xiii. 60. Ibid., iii. Masson, whom George David, The Democratic Intellect; Scotland and her Universities in the Nineteenth Century (Edinburgh, 1961), characterises as 'a representative Scot if ever there was one' was an Aberdonian-born Edinburgh-educated 'generalist' and by English standards a polymath. As well as being a prince of editors, and a pioneering researcher, he was also an innovative teacher of English, first as professor of literature at University College, London, then as professor of literature and rhetoric at Edinburgh. 61. David Masson, Memories of London in the 'forties, Arranged and Annotated by F. Masson (Edinburgh, 1908); Edinburgh Ladies Educational Circle, Report (Edinburgh, 1869). For her mother's enrolment at Bedford College, Flora Masson, Victorians All (London, 1931).

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Anti-Sabbatarianism and Latitudmariamsm generally, or on account of the extreme boldness and heterodoxy of some of his speculations, that he did not belong most truly and properly to the great Puritan body of his countrymen. We have seen sufficiently in these pages what English Puritanism really was, through what phases it passed, what multiform varieties of thinking and of freedom it included. Only an unscholarly misconception of Puritanism, a total ignorance of the actual facts of its history, will ever seek, now or henceforward, to rob English Puritanism of Milton, or Milton of his title to be remembered as the genius of Puritan England.62

Carlyle's Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell (1845) arguably had a greater effect on the nineteenth-century imagination — anyway the historical and political imagination — than any other scholarly work for, though it could not compete in popularity with Macaulay, Green or even Hume (let alone with MangnaWs Questions], it turned history into a moral drama; not so much 'philosophy teaching by example', but rather character revealing, or betraying itself, by the words on the printed page. In place of grand narrative it offered a politics of the personal, in which spiritual economy — or what Carlyle (and after him, Masson), drawing on German transcendentalism, called 'soul-effort' or 'soul striving' — replaced constitutional progress as the measure of worth. In the process it also brought Bunyanesque themes to the very centre of the historical stage, turning the simple life into the nursery of virtue, making the refusal of worldly honour — in Cromwell's case, the grand subject of Carlyle's third volume, the refusal of the English Crown — the crucible in which character revealed its true gold. Carlyle, though he subscribed to the cult of genius, was at great pains, in his Cromwell, to stress, indeed to make a poetic of ordinariness. He addresses his hero familiarly as 'Oliver' or, playfully, when he has become Lord Protector, as 'your Highness'. He domesticates the great state occasions, puncturing the official solemnities with 'Amen', 'Here!' and 'Hum-m-m', inserting inspired and sometimes hilarious stage directions (italicised and in brackets, to preserve verbatim speech); and adding whispered grimaces and asides.63 There are no great crowds, as there are in his French Revolution, but knots of men engaged in earnest converse. Carlyle shares in the intimacies of Cromwell's family circle and calls his pedigree 'kindred'. He loves the plainness and informality of Cromwell's letters, the urgency, the awkwardness, even the silences of the speeches. 'Cromwell, emblem of the dumb English, is interesting to me by the very inadequacy of his speech'.64 The brilliantly chosen, but quite arbitrary starting-point of the narrative is the boggy grassy fields where Cromwell, 'the Farmer of St Ives' was engaged at harvest-work.65 He is not the country 62. Masson's conclusion to his Milton, vol. vi, pp. 839-40. 63. Thomas Carlyle, Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches (London, 1895), iii, pp. 142, 186, 307; see also iv, pp. 15-77. 64. Ibid., i, p. 78. 65. Ibid., i, pp. 85f.


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squire, as he might have been in a more English or aristocratically-minded account, nor mounted on horseback, as he was to be in Ford Madox Brown's Carlyle-inspired portrait of him as a country visionary,66 but rather 'a solid inoffensive farmer' engaged in hum-drum tasks — mowing, milking, cattlemarketing. Carlyle had set out to write an epic,67 with a warrior in the leading role (he was undecided at first whether it should be Cromwell or — for the Covenanters' wars in Scotland were then equally in mind — Montrose),68 and with set-piece descriptions of the battles. But the documentation imposed itself until in the end Carlyle gave himself up to it, reproducing individually each of the letters and speeches, as well as lengthy exchanges, and reducing the authorial role to that of an 'elucidator'. The effect, and indeed the intention was to produce a kind of historical Bildungsroman which charted a mind in the making or what Carlyle thought of as the progress of a human soul, 'the largest soul in England'.69 In place of grand narrative, the reader is invited to be an eavesdropper, listening in to Cromwell's soliloquies, and measuring his outward performance by reference to the inner man. Events were relegated to the background, while character (as Carlyle's critics sometimes complained) was put 'in boldest relief'.70 Perhaps this explains why a mere five pages of the book are given to the battle of Naseby, though Carlyle made an early visit when gathering material for the book, while no fewer than sixty pages are given up to Cromwell's refusal of the English Crown — a protracted negotiation, in which, as Carlyle saw it, the Lord Protector's selflessness was put to the test. Maguire's painting of this, 'Cromwell Refusing the Crown of England', was a sensation when, in 1859-61, it was taken on a tour of the northern cities.71 Puritanism was one of Carlyle's discoveries in preparing the book. He had approached the subject with a Covenanter's eye, as one brought up in a warrior-church, and he was amazed to find that there had been an English analogue. Cromwell ('poor Cromwell'), he wrote in a letter of 23 May 1840, after attempting to lecture on him in Chelsea, was 'the valiant soldier in England of what John Knox had preached in Scotland'; he was a 'believing Calvinist soldier and reformer'.72 In the course of writing the book, which he undertook in part as a way of getting acquainted with England ('a great secret to me always hitherto'), he seems to have shifted ground; Calvinism became Puritanism and he himself, in some sort, English. In Cromwell he refers 66. R. Strong, And When Did You Last See Your Father? The Victorian Painters and British History (London, 1978), pp. 146-51. 67. He still speaks, in the book itself, of a 'Cromwelliad', Carlyle, Cromwell, i, p. 5. 68. J.A. Froude, Thomas Carlyle: A History of his Life in London, 1834-1881, 2 vols (London, 1897), i, pp. 164-65. 69. Carlyle, Cromwell, ii, p. 74. 70. T.H. Green, 'The English Commonwealth', in The Works of Thomas Hill Green, ed. R.L. Nettleship, 3 vols (London, 1888), iii, p. 276. 71. Leeds Mercury, 12 November 1859; Wigan Observer, 11 January 1861. 72. Froude, Thomas Carlyle, i, 194-95.

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freely to 'our English character',73 and opens the book with the resounding and famous declaration that 'Puritanism was the last of all our Heroisms' (my italics).74 It had also crossed the border. Presbyterianism was 'Scotch Puritanism'75 and the Scottish people 'the first beginners of this grand Puritan Revolt'.76 Carlyle is intoxicated not only with the idea of Puritanism but also with the word itself. He uses it both ecumenically and talismanically — rather as the Civil War sectaries used 'godly' — to dignify whatever it touched. The parliamentarians of the Long Parliament were 'Puritan men'; the Barebones Parliament (to which he showed some sympathy) was 'a Puritan Assembly of Notables'.77 Oliver Cromwell was 'the soul of the Puritan Revolt',78 'the most English of Englishmen, the most Puritan of Puritans — the Pattern Man . . . of that Seventeenth Century in England'.79 The impact of Carlyle's work, which can be documented from many different sources, was palpable, immediate and, in the recorded cases, revelatory. How much was this due to the fact that it was written by one who was nationally, socially and confessionally, in English terms, a rank outsider? He had no political affiliations or even — after the break with John Stuart Mill — political friendships to keep up, no loyalty to the idea of representative government (the reason why Commonwealthmen and republicans had been so hostile to Cromwell), but on the contrary a sovereign contempt for the 'quibblings and vacillatings and constitution-pedantries' of parliamentary routine.80 He was equally hostile to the 'frothy cant' of Exeter Hall evangelicalism.81 Nor does he seem to have had any interest in or sympathy for English nonconformity. The Puritanism of his book, he wrote in the opening chapter, was 'not of the nineteenth century, but of the seventeenth'.82 His relations with the Scottish church — where the national church was Presbyterian — were difficult: those of 'lad o'pairts' learned in Scripture and destined for the ministry, who had broken with Calvinist orthodoxies. His only admitted loyalty was a generic one to what he called 'Gospel Christianity'. Like Cromwell he had no theology, only a simple faith. His notion of seventeenth-century Puritanism was correspondingly non-sectarian, at once more national and more plural than it might have been in one who owed some loyalty to an English church or chapel; more unqualified in his revolutionary enthusiasms, so far as the Civil War was concerned, than those who pinned their faith in constitutional 73. Carlyle, Cromwell, iv, p. 18. 74. Ibid., i, p. 1. 75. Ibid., ii, p. 245. 76. Ibid., ii, p. 169. 75. Ibid., iii, p. 73. 76. Ibid., i, p. 120. 77. Ibid., iv, p. 15. 78. Ibid., iv, p. 16. 79. Ibid., ii, p. 53. 80. Ibid., i, p. 8. 81. Ibid., ii, p. 53. 82. Ibid., i, p. 8.


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development. Rescuing Cromwell from the 'enormous condescension' of posterity, his sympathies were also stirred by the Levellers, shot down at Burford, and the Diggers at St George's Hill. Carlyle projected his Cromwell as a grand act of restitution, giving back a character to one whom posterity — and history — had vilified and traduced. He championed Cromwell as an underdog, and it is this which perhaps accounts for the immediate sensation which followed publication of his work and the fervour with which its message was spread in public lecture and debate. The lecturers presented themselves, like Carlyle, as vindicators, standing up for a man of integrity on whom 'historians . . . had thrown their slime.'83 George Dawson adopted this stance in 1846, blaming the 'lackey ages' which followed the Restoration for having blackened the name of 'this giant'.84 Charles Bradlaugh, the secularist leader, was using the same idiom twenty years later: Oliver Cromwell has few or no monuments. The country to which he devoted his virility has seen his bones rattle in gibbet chains, and for two hundred years has, on its knees, thanked God that hollow, tinsel, lying, lustful Stuart was restored to rule England, in lieu of this fierce, sturdy Puritan man, whose soul inbreathed power only because the power carried England's standard higher.85

Carlyle gave history a moral mission, that of rescuing the past from obloquy or oblivion — cleansing the record (or clearing off the dirt) to reveal things in their primitive beauty. The role of the scholar in this was simultaneously humble and heroic — heroic because it meant taking up a new stand, humble because Carlyle's method in Cromwell, where pride of place is given to the letters, while the 'elucidator' remains in the background (as in Past and Present where he is a mere commentator on Jocelin de Brakelond's Chronicle], is that of the servant rather than the master of the evidence, one who, like R.H. Tawney in face of the 'towering' figures of Milton, Cromwell and Bunyan, is in awe at what he sees. Carlyle's Cromwell might also be said to have elevated politics into a species of moral theatre, prefiguring a whole series of later Victorian dramas, no less common in the nonconformist pulpit than on the Liberal front bench at Westminster, in which a prophet, 'criticised' and 'misunderstood' although he enjoys the consolation of a loyal following, wrestles with his own conscience, suffers spiritual crises, yet withall engages in a life of ceaseless strife. John Vincent credits Gladstone with creating this in the Midlothian campaign, but one could with equal justice point to the great Cromwellian 83. PRO, HO 45/3136: Henry Vincent, lecture at Oldham Town Hall, 11 May 1850, reported by a police spy. 84. G. Dawson, 'The Genius and the Works of Thomas Carlyle', reprinted in Biographical Lectures (London, 1886), pp. 426-27. 85. Charles Bradlaugh, Cromwell and Washington: A Contrast (London, 1877).

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leaders of metropolitan nonconformity — Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, who liked to boast that he had Puritan blood in his veins, Hugh Price Hughes at the West London Mission (the man who invented the term 'Nonconformist Conscience') and John Clifford, the presiding figure at the Cromwell Tercentenary celebrations of 1899, who in 1922 was making his fifty-seventh court appearance for non-payment of the educational rate. In mid-Victorian England, enthusiasm for the seventeenth-century Puritans moved from the peripheries of society to the very centre of the national stage. It registered itself at the Palace of Westminster, where in 1856 a picture celebrating the Pilgrim Fathers, showing them embarking in the Mayflower with a flag bearing the motto 'Freedom of Worship' was put up on the walls of the Houses of Parliament.86 Perhaps it played some subliminal part in the 1859 legislation which discontinued the Day of National Humiliation commemorating the execution of Charles I. In the 1860s it began to make its mark on the built environment, with the first Milton Roads and Cromwell Avenues (in the current London A-Z there are thirty-six Cromwells, almost as many as the streets dedicated to the duke of Wellington). 1862 marked the bicentenary of Black Bartholomew, when many nonconformist churches put up busts, bas-reliefs and friezes, or installed stained glass windows, to commemorate their ejected forebears. The Memorial Hall Faringdon Road, where later, in 1900, the Labour Representation Committee held the founding conference of the Labour Party, was one such effort: another was the obelisk to Defoe at Bunhill Fields, subscribed to by the readers of the Christian World. When Alfred Waterhouse's Assize Court went up in Manchester — a neo-Gothic extravaganza built between 1859-64 — Oliver Cromwell figured among the crowned heads, along with the kings and queens,87 as he was to do in the new Town Hall opened at Leeds in 1874. In 1875 a full-scale statue of Cromwell was erected near the cathedral in Manchester 'on the spot where the first man was killed in the civil war'. It made the name of the sculptor, Matthew Noble.88 So far as history teaching was concerned (matters are very different if one turns from the text-books to historical romance), a 'Puritan' interpretation of the seventeenth century, or at the very least a parliamentary one, could be said to have become in some sort the 'common sense' of the lecture hall and class-room. It is not less apparent in Dorothea Beale's addresses to her sixth form at Cheltenham Ladies College89 than in the lectures of George Dawson90

86. R. Strong, And When Did You Last See Your Father?, p. 151. The picture, by the genre artist Charles West Cope, is a very Victorian one: the 'Fathers' are a family group, with children and a pet spaniel to the fore, and the 'ship' is a rowing boat that looks as though it would be lucky to get as far as Margate. 87. B. Read, Victorian Sculpture (London, 1983), pp. 237-38. 88. Ibid., pp. 112-13. 89. Dorothea Beale, Great Englishmen, Short Lives (London, 1881). 90. George Dawson was an advanced Birmingham radical, son of a London schoolmaster, Baptist and later Independent minister.


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or Goldwin Smith on the platforms of the Mechanics Institutes. 'The Puritan Revolution' as it was routinely called by the 1880s — S.R. Gardiner's volumes began publication in 1876 — established itself as the high point in the history syllabuses, not only in University Extension91 with its strongly nonconformist following, but also in the ancient citadel of high Anglicanism, the University of Oxford, where Bishop Stubbs in the 1860s had tried to keep it out of the Schools, on the grounds that it would excite too much party feeling.92 A particularly striking testimony to the change is Charles Dickens's Child's History of England (1852), the work of one described at the time as 'antiPuritan'93 and the novelist more responsible than any other for the low repute of nineteenth-century evangelicalism.94 It is instructive to compare it with Keightley's History of England on which (Dickens scholars tell us) it was based.95 Keightley's book, published in an 'elementary' children's version in 1841,96 speaks of the eleven years of Charles I's personal rule as a 'despotism', and rebukes Laud with having cruelly treated Prynne, Bastwick and others, who were 'gentlemen and men of education'.97 But Charles I was 'grave and decorous in his manner, a lover and patron of the fine arts, and sincerely attached to the Protestant religion'.98 Keightley is very sympathetic to Strafford and notes that at his trial 'the ladies . . . were all captivated by his manly and graceful eloquence'.99 Charles I's 'main fault' was failing to save him, but there is otherwise no criticism of the king. His execution in 1649 was a 'solemn mockery'. Keightley gives some pages to a mainly royalist narrative of the Civil War; the period of the Commonwealth and Protectorate is despatched in three. At the Restoration, a short paragraph on Charles II ('a slave to pleasure')100 is followed by a sober account of the First Dutch War, the Great Plague, the Fire of London etc. In Dickens's History Charles is still 'grave and dignified in bearing', but he is no longer either a patron of the arts or 'sincerely attached to the Protestant religion'. Instead he has 'monstrously exaggerated notions of the rights of a king'. His 'taint' was that he was untrustworthy and 'evasive'.101 It recurs through the subsequent narrative (the outbreak of the Civil War is attributed to his 'plotting'). Dickens almost approves of the execution in 1649: 'With

91. See The Oxford University Extension Gazette, 8 August 1890, for an example. 92. W. Stubbs, Two Lectures on the Present State and Prospects of Historical Study (Oxford, 1876). 93. D. Masson, British Novelists and their Style (London, 1859), p. 245. 94. Cf. V. Cunningham, Everywhere Spoken Against: Dissent in the Victorian Novel (Oxford, 1975), pp. 203-5, 228-30. 95. P. Hobsbawm, A Reader's Guide to Charles Dickens (London, 1981), pp. 288-91. 96. This is the edition I have used for comparison since it is aimed at the same age group as Dickens's book. 97. T. Keightley, An Elementary History of England (London, 1841), p. 199. 98. Ibid., p. 194. 99. Ibid., pp. 202-3. 100. Ibid., p. 262. 101. Charles Dickens, A Child's History of England, 3 vols (London, 1852-4), iii, p. 171.

The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914


all my sorrow for him, I cannot agree with him that he died "the martyr of the people", for the people had been martyrs to him and to his ideas of a King's rights.'102 A great deal of space is given to the Commonwealth and Protectorate. Cromwell 'ruled wisely' and 'The whole country lamented his death'. Where in Keightley Charles I is patron of the arts, in Dickens it is Cromwell: 'he encouraged men of genius and learning, and loved to have them about him. Milton was one of his great friends'. He was 'good humoured' and a loving paterfamilias, being particularly attached to his eldest daughter.103 The Restoration, in Dickens's account of it, is the very pit of English history, one long winter of national humiliation culminating in the execution of Russell and Algernon Sydney. The whole court was c a great laughing crowd of debauched men and shameless women', indulging in 'vicious conversation' and committing 'every kind of profligate excess' (the only person of whom he has anything good to say is Nell Gwyn).104 On Charles's sale of Dunkirk to the French he recalls Cromwell's strengths and wishes the new king might have met the fate of his predecessor. Dickens is indignant at the expulsion of the nonconformist clergy from the church (Protestantism was supposed to be about religious freedom) and quite Gothic about the Five Mile Act of 1665 which, he says, 'doomed' nonconformist ministers 'to starvation and death'.105 His silences are no less remarkable than his rages. The author credited with 'inventing' Christmas does not say a word about the Puritan attempt to abolish it (Keightley has them turning it into a national fast); nor does the thespian in him feel moved to upbraid them about the closing of the theatres. Carlyle's Cromwell, with its psalm-singing soldiers and generals communing with Providence anticipates, prefigures and possibly had some influence on the rise, during the second half of the nineteenth century, of what Olive Anderson calls 'Christian militarism'.106 The seventeenth-century analogy is well-documented for the 1890s when the term 'soldier saint' (a neologism of 1892, according to O.E.D.) spread like wildfire.107 The Soldiers' Pocket Bible of 1643 was reprinted in 1895 with a foreword by Lord Wolseley,108 and the example of the 'plain russet-coated captains' who 'knew what they fought for and loved what they knew' was, it seems, as appealing to younger, reformminded officers, as it was to be again in the Second World War.109 Earlier the term 'Ironside' was much invoked, as it seems to have been during the disasters

102. Ibid., iii, p. 223. 103. Ibid., iii, pp. 249-50. 104. Ibid., iii, pp. 254-93. 105. Ibid., iii, pp. 265-66. 106. O. Anderson, 'The Growth of Christian Militarism in Mid-Victorian Britain', English Historical Review, 86 (1971), pp. 46-72. 107. The soubriquet is said to have been applied to the celebrated W.T. Stead after he went down in the Titanic. 108. See the discussion in Sir Charles Firth, Cromwell's Army, (London, 1902), pp. 331-35. 109. J.P.D. Dunbabin, 'Oliver Cromwell's Popular Image in Nineteenth-Century England', in J.S. Bromley and E.H. Kossman, ed., Britain and the Netherlands v (The Hague), pp. 141-63, at pp. 160-61.


Revival and Religion since 1700

of the Crimean War; according to a local newspaper report: 'Many have dwelt upon the days of the Protectorate, when a man, unfettered by routine and sprung from the people, made England's arms both feared and respected'.110 Another Carlylean figure much in evidence during the second half of the nineteenth century was the General next to God. An influential incarnation was Sir Henry Havelock ('every inch a soldier and every inch a Christian . . . a Puritan of the true Cromwellian stamp')111 — the martyr-general of the time of the Indian Mutiny and a Baptist, whose statue still stands on the eastern side of Trafalgar Square. Matthew Arnold, in Culture and Anarchy (1869), treats 'Puritanism' and chapel nonconformity as interchangeable terms, targeting its militants as the enemies of 'sweetness and light'. Liberal politicians were apt to make the same equation, although of course they did so in a positive sense, instrumentalising the example of the seventeenth century for party ends.112 In the aftermath of the 1867 Reform Act, when nonconformity in one or other of its national varieties — Welsh, English or Scottish — emerged as the principal basis of their electoral support, they grew adept at playing the Puritan card,113 while in intra-party struggle, as for example between the radicals and the Whigs, to claim Puritan blood, or better still, like Bright or Chamberlain, to boast direct descent from one of the ejected ministers of 1662, was a standard trope. In local politics, where Anglicans and nonconformists clashed over issues like church rates and education, the term 'Puritan' was used as a nonconformist conceit, and more occasionally a Liberal one, although it was not until the 1890s that 'Municipal Puritanism' surfaced as an explosive issue in metropolitan politics. A precocious example is Blackburn, where, according to the town historian (himself at the time a member of the majority group on the Liberal Council), a Puritan regime was initiated between 1853 and 1861: 'Puritans were its Mayors and acting Magistrates . . . Puritans a number of its officials . . . Even the Police took to reading religious tracts in their spare moments . . .'At the time of the 1868 election, the trade union newspaper The Beehive invoked a collective ancestry: Can any man of dispassionate mind doubt as to how Milton would vote, were he alive in England next week or Cromwell, or almost any other of our forefathers who were devoted to freedom and progress, and whose memories we are proud of? We cannot conceive Milton as voting against Mr Gladstone and for the unscrupulous politician whom fate has ironically made Premier of England.'114

110. Oxford Chronicle, 24 Feb. 1855. 111. J. Marshman, 'Brief Sketch of the Career of the late Major-General Sir Henry Havelock, K.C.B.', Baptist Magazine (April, 1858), p. 209. 112. J. Vincent, The Formation of the Liberal Party, 1857-1868 (London, 1966), p. xliii. 113. Janet Howarth, 'The Liberal Revival in Northamptonshire', Historical Journal, xii (1969), pp. 78-118, at pp. 99-100. 114. P.T. Phillips, The Sectarian Spirit (Toronto, 1982), pp. 128-30; The Beehive, 14 Nov. 1868, p. 4. For Solly's editorship, see H. Solly, These Eighty Years (London, 1893).

The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914


The seventeenth century analogy was very much to the fore in the Bulgarian Atrocities campaign of 1876, at least in the mind of its orchestrator, W.T. Stead — a lifelong Cromwellian (in 1899 he produced a popular digest of Carlyle's Letters and Speeches}. 'Cromwell, Milton and the Vaudois' were the central themes of his first appeal, and he returned to the example when urging Mr Gladstone in the wake of his famous pamphlet to propose a 'Bulgarian Sunday'.115 The past-present dialectic worked the other way round for the liberal historians of the period who drew on the analogy of the nineteenth century (or the unspoken example of it) when engaged in seventeenth-century work. The point of reference, however, was not a 'godly polities', as it was for the nonconformists and as it had been for Carlyle, but rather seventeenth-century anticipations of the democratic idea. In line with a rhetoric which pitted 'the people' against privilege, and pictured the increasingly radicalised Liberal Party as the historically-appointed vehicle of the English 'Democracy', the Puritans, even though their minority character was admitted, became the ambassadors of the future. Thus J.R. Green, an 'advanced' liberal though also an Anglican clergyman, argued in his Short History of the English People that, 'great as were its faults', Puritanism 'may fairly claim to be the first political system which recognised the grandeur of the people as a whole — Shakespeare knew nothing'.116 S.R. Gardiner, an ardent Gladstonian Liberal, as J.W. Adamson has recently reminded us,117 and one whose nonconformist affiliation had kept him out of Oxford in his earlier life, made strenuous efforts to keep party spirit out of his multi-volume history, but the very word 'Puritan', which he insists on, functions both as a party rallying cry and a label: 'Puritanism not only formed the strength of the opposition to Charles I, but the strength of England itself. Parliamentary liberties, and even parliamentary control, were worth contending for'.118 Sir Charles Firth, acutely aware that the political activity of the Cromwellian army was the reverse of popular, nevertheless saw it as propagating 'democratic principles' which would be more fitly realised in the future by others. The Putney Debates, which he discovered, transcribed and published, became a kind of dress rehearsal for modern politics.119 The syncretism of new and old can also be seen in the novel, as in Middlemarch, where Dorothea Brooke doubles in the part of a Puritan and a Lady Bountiful. Louisa M. Alcott's Little Women turns The Pilgrim's Progress of which it is quite explicitly a modern re-working, into a family romance, making a whole universe of domesticity, investing the March family with the 115. R.T. Shannon, Gladstone and the Bulgarian Agitation, 1876 (2nd edn, Hassocks, 1975), p. 137. 116. J.R. Green, Short History, i, p. 412. 117. J.S.A. Adamson, 'Eminent Victorian: S.R. Gardiner and the Liberal as Hero', Historical Journal, xxxiii (1990), p. 641. 118. S.R. Gardiner, History of the Great Civil War 1642-1649, 4 vols (London, 1893), i, p. 9. 119. Firth, Essays, p. 385.


Revival and Religion since 1700

trappings of gentility, even though they are hard up, and turning the father — in the real-life original a failed Utopian and struggling scholar — into the altogether more manly figure of a soldier. Here home is the Celestial City, at once the arena of the children's trials, and the site of their spiritual triumph. Just as, in their play, the cellar is the City of Destruction, so in their real-life travails, the Victorian sick-room is the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Superadded to this, and one reason, commentators have suggested, for the book's enduring popularity in the United States, are the elements of the American dream. 'Meg's Horatio Alger-like Mr Brooke applies himself to his accounts and ultimately provides her with servants. Amy marries the grandson of a millionaire and lives to bestow her largesse upon the less fortunate; and Jo inherits Plumfield, Aunt March's estate'.120 The domestication of Puritanism can also be followed in the pages of Black Beauty, the Pilgrim's Progress (or Book of Martyrs) of the animal rights' movement. Coming from a very heartland of English nonconformity, and written by a bed-ridden Victorian Miss the book unfolds in a succession of parables, now demonstrating the cruelties of the 'bearing rein' (the arching of the horse's head to give it a showier appearance), now rebuking a great lady for her improvident housekeeping, now attacking the careless brutality of the ignorant master or the heavy Victorian father, Puritan-humanist in its emphasis on kindness to animals, and resuming the ancient Puritan opposition to blood sports, the book is at the same time quite attentive to the Victorian proprieties. Indeed the opening chapter, in which Black Beauty's mother takes the pony on one side to warn of the perils of frisking with the rough young colts in the meadow — 'You have been well bred and well born; your father has a great name in these parts, and your grandfather won the cup two years at Newmarket' — must have provided generations of English girls with one of their elementary lessons in class and gender comportment. Enthusiasm for the seventeenth-century Puritans was distinctly a minority affair. Indeed it derived much of its energy from this, being taken up most ardently by those who were at some sort of odds with society or — like the young Ben Tillett, in his apprentice days as an agitator, 'spellbound' by the 'dark fury' of Carlyle's prose — up in arms against the corruptions and injustice of the world. The leaders of the 'Revolt of the Field', the farm labourers' movement of the 1870s, perhaps fall into this category. The Labourers Union Chronicle, edited by Liberal sympathisers, claimed that 'puritanism and non-conformity' were supplying the motive power, and the 'moral earnestness' which gave them the courage to take on the parson and the squire.121 Joseph Arch himself, the farm labourers' leader, a village Hampden, or 'mute, inglorious' Milton finding a national voice, set

120. D.E. Smith, John Banyan in America (Bloomington, 1966), p. 100. 121. See Nigel Scotland, Methodism and the Revolt of the Field, (Gloucester, 1981) p. 37.

The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914


great store by this, believing, as he wrote in his autobiography, that some of his Warwickshire forbears fought with Cromwell at Edgehill, 'against tyranny and oppression and for the liberation of the people'.122 There must have been others who liked to picture their seventeenth-century ancestors as fighting on opposite sides to the local squire — we know from his daughter's biography that Joseph Ashby of Tysoe did.123 It was in this spirit that the Labourers' Union in Northamptonshire held an annual demonstration and gala at Naseby, concluding the proceedings with an original song relating to the battle. But at the farm labourers' conferences and rallies, where sympathising newspapermen were amazed at the outpouring of the spirit, it was not people's history which gave first-time orators the strength to speak, but sacred history: Old Testament examples of how tyrants met their doom. At Lark Rise where, to follow Flora Thompson's memoir, the farm labourers in the 'Wagon and Horses' were Gladstonian to a man, naughty children were still being threatened: 'If you ain't a good gal, old Oliver Crummell'll have 'ee!'124 Metropolitan nonconformists, with their vast Sunday congregations, at places like Spurgeon's Tabernacle, their prosperous suburban churches, and their vivid political life, acquired a quite inflationary notion of their numbers and strength. Their children were brought up, like the radical journalist Howard Evans, 'to regard Cromwell and Milton and Bunyan as the great heroes of the Primitive Apostolic and Puritan faith'.125 In their homes not only Mr Gladstone but even (Leah Manning recalls of her fervently radical Wesleyan grandfather) the by-elections were included in the family prayers.126 If one was a visitor at Spurgeon's new house in the suburbs, one might be invited to play 'at the old Puritan game of bowls'. It is not surprising that when the nonconformists found themselves in power, in the newly-created London County Council of 1888, they treated their majority as a mandate not only for municipal collectivism but also for 'municipal puritanism'.127

122. Joseph Arch: The Story of his Life Told by Himself (London, 1898), pp. x-xii, 2-4, 10-12, 15-19. 123. M.K. Ashby, Joseph Ashby of Tysoe, 1859-1919 (Cambridge, 1961). 124. P. Home, Joseph Arch: The Farm Workers' Leader (Kineton, 1971), pp 127-28; F. Thompson, Lark Rise to Candleford (1939; Harmondsworth, 1987), pp. 65-66, 215. 125. H. Evans, Radical Fights over Forty Years (London, 1913), p. 17. 126. L. Manning, A Life for Education (London, 1970), p. 20. 127. C.H. Spurgeon's Autobiography: Compiled from his Diary, Letters, and Records, by his wife [S. Spurgeon], and his Private Secretary, 4 vols (London, 1897-1900), iii, pp. 189-90.


Revival and Religion since 1700 PART II

Historians seem generally to be agreed that the 1890s and 1900s, when nonconformity reached some kind of zenith of political influence, also marked the onset of secular decay.1 The progressive removal of civil disabilities, such as the abolition of University Tests, opened nonconformists to assimilation from above; while emancipatory measures such as the Burials Act of 1880, which allowed them to conduct their own funeral services, made the cry of 'religious equality' sound increasingly shrill. Nonconformity was also threatened, more dangerously, it is argued, than the Church of England, which required less strenuous commitment, by the secularising tendencies of the age.2 Already in the 1850s worldly prosperity was exposing the more successful to the temptations of what the Quakers called 'gay' dress; to the attractions of worldly amusements and to the lure of 'vain' sports.3 Fireworks displays 'in which some of the younger members were preparing to indulge' was one of the 1850s troubles of the Birmingham Quakers;4 Samuel Morley, the millionaire philanthropist, was outraged when two of his children, visiting the home of a local minister, were inveigled into joining a game of charades.5 Things got worse when outdoor games, such as lawn-tennis and later golf, were taken up by the middle class; and when the seaside holiday, 'which had been previously considered slightly raffish' was adopted as a normal part of middle-class life.6 As for popular culture, the cricketing teams, which by the 1890s some chapels were running,7 could not compete with the footballing excitements of the Saturday half-holiday, while the Pleasant Sunday Afternoons which they put on, to insulate their congregation from the Sabbath-breakers, ('an Evangelistic service, with instrumental and vocal music, hymns, solos, and a short address') were no match for the shooting brakes laden with pleasure-seekers, the 'streams of bicyclists', or the crowds assembling round the bandstand in the parks.8 Under the influence of an extravagant chapel-building programme, nonconformity was becoming an increasingly hereditary affair, transferring its energies from evangelising work to consolidation, and locking them up in 1. J. Kent, 'Hugh Price Hughes and the Nonconformist Conscience', in G.V. Bennett and J.D. Walsh, ed., Essays in Modern Church History (London, 1966), pp. 18lff; John Gay, The Geography of Religion in England, (London, 1971), pp. 112-13, 123-25. 2. A.D. Gilbert Religion and Society in Industrial England: Church, Chapel and Social Change, 1740-1914 (London, 1976). 3. E. Isichei, Victorian Quakers (Oxford, 1970), p. 45. 4. A. Peckover, Life of Joseph Sturge (London, 1890), p. 15. 5. E. Hodder, The Life of Samuel Morley (London, 1887), pp. 177-78. 6. J. Marlowe, The Puritan Tradition in English Life (London, 1956), p. 123. 7. J. Cox, The English Churches in a Secular Society: Lambeth, 1870-1930 (New York, 1982), p. 183. 8. Charles Booth, Life and Labour of the People in London, 17 vols (London, 1902), final volume, 'Notes on Social Influences and Conclusion' (London, 1902), pp. 48-9. For a more affirmative account of the P.S.A.s, H. McLeod, Class and Religion in the Late Victorian City, (London, 1974), pp. 65-69 and K.S. Inglis, Churches and the Working Classes in Victorian England (London, 1963), pp. 79-85.

The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914


its suburban fastnesses. The chapels themselves, with their cathedral-like towers and spires, the visible signs of nonconformity's prosperity, were also a testimony to its decadence, exhibiting a love of ornamentation and ostentation which a simpler and more passionate faith had held in check, and making the survival of poorer congregations, left behind in the rage for ornamentation, increasingly untenable.9 Politically, the voluntary principle, nineteenth-century nonconformity's grand specific for social ills, was eclipsed by a growing belief, not least within radical nonconformity itself, in the power of collective provision, while economic and social questions came to count for more than those issues of status and rights by which nonconformists had set such store. The Liberal landslide of 1906, in which nonconformists made up almost half the new majority, was a Pyrrhic victory: the Church versus Chapel issues on which (at least in the eyes of passive resisters and those who had campaigned against the 1902 Education Bill) it had been won were speedily displaced by such welfare measures as Old Age Pensions. As Richard Helmstadter puts it: Tree churchmen, in spite of their active press and increasingly efficient central organisation, faded into a religiously indifferent landscape.'10 Yet if nonconformity was decaying, or stationary, in its denominational fastnesses, secularised versions of it were flourishing and discovering new fields of endeavour in the world outside. One was municipal enterprise, which emerged, in the late nineteenth century, as one of the leading outlets for the reformist spirit in national life as well as a springboard for collectivism. Pioneered by nonconformists and still, in the 1900s very largely in their hands, it was regarded by the moving spirits — on the borough councils of the 1900s they included such characteristic figures as the Sunday School teacher, the school attendance officer, and the 'concerned' general practitioner and health worker — as a matter of Christian duty, bringing light into dark places, giving a helping hand to the weak.11 In this spirit, it extended the notion of public utility from the provision of cheap gas and pure water to the running of municipal trams;12 to the feeding of schoolchildren; and the supply of municipal milk. By degrees, too, councils began to involve themselves in cultural politics, turning free libraries into flagships of municipal progress,13 opening up recreation

9. Gilbert, Religion and Society in Industrial England, pp. 170-71. 10. Helmstadter, 'The Nonconformist Conscience', p. 171. 11. See Cox, English Churches in a Secular Society. 12. For F.B. Meyer, the Lambeth Baptist, the construction of L.C.C. tram lines over Westminster Bridge, against the objections of the House of Lords, was a local manifestation of a world-wide, 'divinely inspired' advance for democracy. 'The Revolution in Russia', he told the Baptist Union, 'is symbolic of a world-wide movement which is destined to have a profound effect on the lives of obscure dwellers in our slums. It is not without significance that Westminster Bridge is being seamed with tram lines for working girls.' Quoted by Cox, English Churches in a Secular Society, pp. 174-75. 13. For the phenomenal growth of public libraries in London during the years 1893-1920, T. Kelly, History of Public Libraries in Great Britain, 1845-1965 (London, 1973).


Revival and Religion since 1700

grounds and parks, with bandstands for the performance of municipal music and playgrounds for children's swings and slides. The missionaries of the civic gospel also engaged in those acts of moral policing which earned them the title of 'municipal puritans'.14 Tresh, bright and clean pleasures', such as those represented by municipal concerts and municipal swimming baths, were promoted as a sovereign remedy for intemperance and vice. In London the Progressive majority on the newly-formed L.C.C., under the influence of such temperance zealots as the 'Methodistical Puritan' J. McDougall of Poplar — 'a representative municipal statesman of the type of the serious English middle class' — used their licensing powers to curtail drinking hours and reduce the numbers of beerhouses and pubs; while the Theatres and Music Hall Committee, under the vice-chairmanship of Richard Robert, the member for South Islington, a 'radical nonconformist' who did 'not regret the revival of Puritan sentiment which has always characterised English Liberalism in its best days', attempted to 'check indecency and gilded vice', to stop the performance of 'objectionable' songs and — as John Burns, the member for Battersea put it in an election address of 1895 — to prevent art and artistes 'from being made mere accessories to drink and debauchery'.15 It is interesting that some of the strongest 'municipal Puritans' were not nonconformists at all but those secularist radicals or free-thinkers who worked in tandem with them. John Burns, 'an unwavering preacher of righteousness, though in the conventional meaning of the term he is not a religious man', in the words of a 1908 hagiographer, is an interesting and influential example.16 A martinet for discipline during the great dock strike — one of the reasons why, though famed as the man with the Red Flag, he won the plaudits of the public press — and already, as his diary for 1887-88 shows, apt to scrutinise working-class pleasure-goers for tell-tale signs of degeneracy, he had trained himself from boyhood, it seems, to do without, refusing to 'coddle himself'.17 It was one of his proud boasts, when elevated to a position where he was on intimate terms with the highest in the land, that he had never had to wear an overcoat in his life.18 A rigid and lifelong abstainer, known as 'Old Coffee-Pot' by his workmates in his early engineering days, 'on account of his refusal

14. For municipal Puritanism in London, Penelope Summerfield, 'The Effingham Arms and the Empire: Deliberate Selection in the Evolution of Music Hall in London', in S. and E. Yeo, ed., Popular Culture and Class Conflict, 1590-1914 (Hassocks, 1981), pp. 216-21; Cox, English Churches in a Secular Society, pp. 153-63; Chris Waters, British Socialists and the Politics of Popular Culture, 1884-1914 (Manchester, 1990), pp. 139-52; S. Pennybacker, 'It was not What She Said, but the Way She Said It: The London County Council and the Music Halls', in P. Bailey, ed., Music Hall: The Business of Pleasure (London, 1986); I. Britain, Fabianism and Culture: A Study in British Socialism and the Arts, 1884-1918 (Cambridge, 1982), pp. 139-60. 15. W.T. Stead, The London County Council Election, 1892 (London, 1892), pp.49, 52, 63. 16. Arthur Page Grubb, The Life Story of the Rt Hon. John Burns (London, 1908), p. 272. 17. W. Kent, John Burns: Labour's Lost Leader (London, 1950), pp. 50-53. 18. Grubb, Life Story of John Burns, p. 28.

The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914


to touch spirits or beer',19 he gave wholehearted support to the L.C.C.'s temperance reforms.20 As candidate for Battersea in the 1895 L.C.C. election he was no less vociferous in supporting Mrs Ormiston Chant's crusade against the music-halls.21 'In the real meaning of the word John Burns is a Puritan to the depths of his being', wrote the hagiographer of 1908, a twentieth century incarnation of those prophets of Israel who arraigned monarch and meanest subject alike in burning words for national sins, and of those stern-visaged men of their bands who in the seventeenth century hurled a perjured king from his throne to save the liberties of the English people. No Puritan pulpiteer thundered against the vices of his time more vehemently than John Burns has denounced the drinking and gambling habits of the working-man of today. No face has been set more sternly against slackers and moral flabbiness; no austerer moralist could be discovered in the Long Parliament of 1649 than is the president of the Local Government Board . . ,'22

In another sphere, that of state intervention rather than civics, a secularised version of the Calvinist notion of the 'calling', and a vocational and professional one of the gospel of work, were a fundamental component of the public service ethic as it emerged in the reformed universities of the 1870s. One might refer here to those notions of noblesse oblige which captivated the undergraduates who sat at the feet of such charismatic teachers as A.J. Toynbee.23 Or to those theories of social obligation, stressing duty, discipline and the subordination of the self in the service of a higher cause, associated by J.R. Seeley, the historian, with the practice of enlightened statecraft;24 by T.H. Green, the philosopher, with the pursuit of moral and temperance reform; 25 and by Alfred Marshall, the economist, with legislative action on behalf of the 'residuum'. Or to those more aristocratic notions of leadership which found expression in the settlement houses where budding empire-builders, such as Alfred Lord Milner found their vocation. At a lower level, and at a slightly later date, one might 19. Ibid., p. 276. 20. Cf. John Burns, Brains Better than Bets or Beer, Clarion pamphlet no. 36 (London, 1902), p. 12, where he regrets that among the poor 'The ancient Puritan reserve is being abandoned' through 'lack of a decent home life', 'town-bred conditions' and a 'cheap-and-nasty Press'. 21. Chris Waters, 'Progressives, Puritans and the Cultural Politics of the Council, 1889-1914' in A. Saint, ed., Politics and the People of London: The London County Council, 1889-1965 (London, 1989), p. 67. 22. Grubb, Life Story of John Burns, pp. 271-72. 23. A. Milner, Arnold Toynbee: A Reminiscence (London, 1901). 24. D. Wormell, Sir John Seeley and the Uses of History (Cambridge, 1980). 25. M. Richter, The Politics of Conscience: T.H. Green and his Age (London, 1964) is a splendid book which age does not wither. C. Jenks, 'T.H. Green, the Oxford Philosophy of Duty and the English Middle Class', British Journal of Sociology, 28 (1977), pp. 481-97 interestingly attempts to subsume Green's supposed neo-Hegelianism in a more diffuse 'philosophy of duty'. Green was an active Liberal, on Oxford City Council, and a strong temperance advocate. He was also, from his Rugby schooldays onwards, a passionate Cromwellian. Cf. his 'Four Lectures on the English Revolution' in R.L. Nettleship, ed., The Works of Thomas Hill Green, iii, pp. 276, 364.


Revival and Religion since 1700

refer to the young idealists, turned out in such number by the teacher-training colleges of the 1890s, who found their parish and their lifelong vocation in the elementary schools;26 to the apostles of university extension and 'fellowship' who discovered in tutorial classes a whole new missionary field (Albert Mansbridge, the mystically-minded founder of the Workers' Educational Association, and R.H. Tawney, its most distinguished tutor, are representative types);27 or to those civil service recruits, some of them drawn from industry, who took positions of responsibility in the burgeoning welfare bureaucracies — 'a new model army of vigilant administrators, supplanting property by organisation', as those who manned the newly-formed Labour Exchanges were called in 1910.28 A Puritan idea of service and sacrifice gave a rationale for late Victorian overseas settlement, burdening the British diaspora with a tremendous task — nothing less than that of conjuring order out of chaos. It provided some of what Martin Green calls (in relation to Robinson Crusoe] the 'energising myths' which gave the empire-builders the courage to take up their appointment with destiny.29 Kipling, the poet laureate of Empire, a lifelong Cromwellian, descended, on both sides of the family, from what he chose to call 'puritan blood' (both his grandfathers had been Methodist ministers) pictured the task as a thankless one, with many dangers and few rewards.30 The terrain was hostile — an Old Testament landscape, cursed with pestilence and exhibiting nature red in tooth and claw; the very plants (Darwin taught) only survived by cannibalising one another. 'Jungle' emerged, towards the end of the century, as a key metaphor. It was originally a Hindu word, but was little used by H.M. Stanley in his narratives; yet by the 1890s, when Conrad wrote Heart of Darkness, it had been transplanted to tropical Africa. The Empire was rich in martyrs (Keir Hardie called Gordon of Khartoum 'the most Christ like man this country has ever seen'),31 it also provided a wide new field for the combination of those qualities which (as was often said in eulogies of Cromwell)32 united the 'Man of Action' and 'the Mystic' — the 'practical mystic' as Lord Rosebery called Cromwell in his tercentenary address, 'a man

26. For autobiographical accounts, F.H. Spencer, An Inspector's Testament (London, 1938) and Jessie Chambers, D.H. Lawrence: A Personal Record (Cambridge, 1981), pp. 73ff. Clara E. Grant, From 'Me' to 'We' (Forty Years on Bow Common) (privately printed 1940), pp. 1-10 is an appealing memoir by one of the first generation of teacher-idealists. 27. A. Mansbridge, The Kingdom of the Mind: Essays and Addresses, 1903-7 (London, 1944); The Trodden Road, Experience, Inspiration and Belief (London, 1940). 28. J. Harris, Unemployment and Politics: A Study in English Social Policy, 1886-1914 (Oxford, 1972), pp. 352-53, quoting the Fabian idealist and activist, later killed on the Western Front, Ben Keeling. 29. M. Green, Dreams of Adventure, Deeds of Empire (London, 1980), pp. 75-83. 30. D. Davie, 'A Puritan's Empire: The Case of Kipling', in Harold Bloom, ed., Rudyard Kipling: Modern Critical Views (New York, 1987), pp. 45-56. 31. K.O. Morgan, Keir Hardie (London, 1975), p. 40. 32. G.W.E. Russell, ed., Sir Wilfred Lawson: A Memoir (London, 1909), p. 266.

The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914


who combines inspiration . . . apparently derived . . . from close communion with the supernatural and the celestial'.33 Personified in the district officer bringing the rudiments of order and justice to some wild hill tribe or in the missionary braving impossible difficulties to carry the Gospel to the heathen, it made every act of colonisation a spiritual triumph. The socialist movement, to follow autobiographical accounts of the period, was rich in Saints and martyrs, 'noble-minded' men and women — women especially — who sacrificed life and health for the cause. Within a very few years of the foundation of the Independent Labour Party the roll-call of the 'martyred dead', commemorated in the Red Flag, extended from Chicago's vaults to such indigenous figures as Carolyn Martin and Enid Stacey, who had given their all to the itinerant propaganda, and met with an early death.34 Embracing the socialist cause was regarded — at least by those who joined it from the comfortable classes — as an act of renunciation, one which made its votaries indifferent to physical well-being. In their own eyes, they were 'social saviours' standing up for justice and right, shielding the downtrodden and oppressed.35 Socialism was not only historically inevitable, it was also (Annie Besant wrote) 'ethically beautiful'36. Those who were its appointed missionaries exhibited a sublime indifference to material things. Margaret McMillan, a leading spirit in the Bradford I.L.P. and a pioneer of the kindergarten movement and of open-air nurseries, was a hugely-admired example: in the urgency of writing she would allow her fingers to grow blue 'without thinking that she could put a match to the fire'.37 Charlotte Despard, the Queen of South London Socialism, and in later years a famous tribune for the Irish, is another example, as her recent biography records: She had begun to read Thoreau and Walt Whitman, the prophets of simplicity and naturalism, and under their influence her preference for the uncomplicated way of life she had enjoyed as a girl quickly revived. Living alone, she was able to follow Shelley's advice and become a vegetarian, and in the poverty of Wandsworth she could adopt a plainer form of clothing than a more formal class of society would have approved. A simple, habit-like black dress without ornamentation became her invariable garb, set off by the eccentricity of a black lace mantilla. In that bustled, stayed and busty age her refusal to lace her spare figure into corsets, or to cover her head with an extravagant hat, rendered her distinctive to the point of oddness. By the time she began to wear open sandals instead of narrow shoes, it seemed quite in keeping with the rest.38 33. Quoted in M. Pollard, 'A Plea for Mysticism', Theosophist, November 1911, p. 226. 34. Sylvia Pankhurst, The Suffragette Movement (London, 1977), pp. 127-28; S. Yeo,'A New Life: The Religion of Socialism in Britain, 1883-1896", History Workshop Journal, 4, Autumn 1977, pp. 5-56. 35. Our Corner, xi, Feb. 1888, p. 119. 36. Annie Besant, An Autobiography, (London, 1908), p. 304. 37. C. Steedman, Childhood, Culture and Class in Britain: Margaret McMillan, 1860-1931 (London, 1990), p. 200. 38. A. Linklater, An Unhusbanded Woman: Charlotte Despard; Suffragette, Socialist and Sinn Feiner (London, 1980), p. 62.


Revival and Religion since 1700

As the foregoing may have suggested, late Victorian Britain offered many new fields for the exercise of what T.H. Green called 'ascetic altruism'.39 The Puritan virtues of plain living and high thinking may have been under siege (as ministers complained) in the nonconformist heartlands, but an aestheticised version of them was the very basis of the Arts-and-Crafts movement — 'England's modernism' as it has been called — which had as its starting point a revolt against Victorian opulence. 'Simple Lifeism', its secular analogue, was ardently practised in those communities of the alienated (fellowships as they were often called) where spiritual vagrants found a refuge from religious doubt. It is not difficult to find echoes of Puritanism in those late Victorian ethical movements which served as a platform for 'advanced' ideas. They were very much in evidence in the Fellowship of the New Life, the original seedbed of Fabianism. Members took as their object 'the cultivation of a perfect character in each and all'; as their guiding principle 'the subordination of material . . . to spiritual things'; and, as a condition of membership, 'singleminded, sincere, and strenuous devotion to the cause'.40 The need for, and the possibility of, a grand purification of life was one of the major themes of early socialist propaganda, which pictured the society of the future as a leaner, fitter one, purged of superfluity and excess. It targeted luxury as the main enemy, arguing that it was only the insatiable demand for comfort by the wealthy few that condemned the many to a life of toil. Edward Carpenter, the sandal-making sage of Millthorpe who was the great exponent of Simple Lifeism, drew his inspiration from the American transcendentalists and community-builders. In the rhetoric of the Fabians, lecturing to middle-class audiences on the virtues of the servantless home,41 or launching their philippics against unearned increment and wealth,42 a more traditional vocabulary came into play. It is perhaps indicative of this that one of their 1890s tracts was A Word of Remembrance and Caution to the Rich, a reprint of a 1773 pamphlet by the New England Quaker and pioneer of negro emancipation, John Woolman.43 Robert Blatchford, in Merrie England (1894), the booklet which did more than any other to domesticate the socialist idea — it sold some two million copies — linked 'opulence of mind' with 'frugality of body'.44 In place of luxury he argued for a return to the production of primary necessaries: Robinson Crusoe's first care was to secure food and shelter. Had he neglected 39. Richter, The Politics of Conscience, p. 256. 40. There are good accounts of this in W. Sylvester Smith, The London Heretics, 1870-1914 (London, 1967), pp. 132-41; W. Wolfe, From Radicalism to Socialism: Men and Ideas in the Formation of Fabian Socialist Doctrines, 1881-1889 (New Haven, 1975), pp. 153-63, 239-45; Britain, Fabianism and Culture, pp. 27-41 41. Fabian Society, Lecture List (1891), p. 8. 42. See Fabian Tract no. 1, Why Are the Many Poor? (London, 1884); Tract no. 30, The 'Unearned Increment' (London, 1892). 43. Tract no. 79 (London, 1897). 44. R. Blatchford, Merrie England (London, 1894), pp. 15, 46.

The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914


his goats and his raisins and spent his time in making shell-boxes he would have starved . . . But what are we to call the delicate and refined ladies who wear satin and pearls, while the people who earn them lack bread? 45

'Luxury', a young worker-scholar of 1900 would have learnt in his 'Elementary Sociology', went 'hand in hand' with vice and stifled 'high endeavour'.46 The true wealth of a nation lay in the character of its people. The 'primary wants' were few — love and marriage, companionship and books; all the rest was 'secondary' and 'derivative'. (The lesson, one may imagine, was peculiarly appealing to the impecunious young bachelor, pressing his claims on doubting in-laws.) I want to get married to John or Eliza Jane. This is a primary want, because people must marry or the world would stop. But I want a big wedding in the church, a grand wedding-cake, a trousseau, and a wedding-ring with three sparkling diamonds on it, these are secondary wants . . . We all want to eat, but . . . such a strong hold does mere taste obtain over some people that they would prefer a pretty dish served daintily to them, even if it were empty, to the largest amount of steaming food in a more direct way.47

Simple Lifeism, or a feminist version of it, calling for a new spiritualisation of the household and a new emotional economy, was quite central to the fin de siecle ideas about 'companionate' marriage, as they were practised (or canvassed) in the advanced circles of the time, 'a comradeship . . . rather than a state where the woman was subservient to, and dependent on the man'.48 The wife, instead of being a male plaything or a suffering Madonna, would enjoy relations of solidarity and respect. The husband — a helpmeet rather than a lover — would renounce, or restrain, the sexual passion. Absence of physical attraction, so far from being an inhibition, might be the passport to marital happiness, as it was for Beatrice Potter when she entered her lifelong partnership with Sidney Webb, or Virginia Stephen when Leonard Woolf began to court her.49 The 'Platonic' friendship, another fin de siecle ideal 45. Ibid., p. 174. For other passages carrying this message, see pp 41-43, 87-91 and chapter xxiii, 'Luxury', pp. 172ff. 46. 'The Advantages of Simpler Living', by a corresponding student, Young Oxford, i, Feb. 1900, p. 20. Young Oxford was the journal of the Ruskin Hall movement. 47. 'Elementary Sociology', ibid., pp. 9f. 48. The Hard Way Up: The Autobiography of Hannah Mitchell, Suffragette and Rebel (London, 1977), p. 88. Hannah's disillusion with her husband, and her discovery that 'these Socialist young men expected Sunday dinners and huge teas with home-made cakes, potted meats and pies, exactly like their reactionary fellows', is recorded ibid., pp. 96-97. 49. For Virginia Woolf, see P. Rose, Virginia Woolf: Woman of Letters (London, 1986), pp. 81-89. One way of interpreting and contextualising those celebrated literary and political unions (the marriage of Havelock Ellis and Edith Lees is another well-known example of the period) is to see them as extreme cases of a limitation of fertility which had become general among sections of the middle-class before the advent of modern methods of birth control. On this, see A. McLaren, Birth Control in Nineteenth Century Britain (London, 1978); J.A. Banks, Prosperity and Parenthood: A Study of Family Planning Among the Victorian Middle Class (London, 1954).


Revival and Religion since 1700

which had a large following among the emancipated, was of a piece with this: it was only by the reining in of the passions that 'holy sweetness' could remain pure.50 The 'New Woman' as she appeared on the stage of the Little Theatres, in the feminist and anti-feminist novels of the 1890s, and in the misogynist caricatures of Punch, was one who put self-development first.51 She is pictured in austere surroundings, struggling to keep her independence intact or, like Nora in A Doll's House, preparing to abandon creature comforts in the search for an ideal state. She dresses plainly: in sensibly hygienic or rational dress, in the Punch caricature; or more romantically in free-flowing, loose-fitting 'aesthetic' dress; or, nun-like, in a habit. She regards what Millicent Fawcett (in a letter to Thomas Hardy) called 'the physical element of love' with distaste,52 believing that sexual advances are an invitation to self-surrender. Marriage is the result of female guile or male lust. When entered into for the sake of security, it is 'the uncleanliest traffic in the world'; 'A mere mouldering branch of the patriarchal tree'.53 Olive Schreiner, a soul-striver, attempting to storm the heavens yet doomed to wander homeless in the world, was a living incarnation of this feminised version of Puritanism, alike in her passionate, unfulfilled being and in her evangelically-charged writings. The Story of an African Farm, though written by a free-thinker who had rejected the religious teachings of her missionary parents, is full of religious echoes. Biblical references abound. The soul is orphaned, the terrain bleak. It was perhaps in acknowledgement of these qualities that her London admirers included not only freethinkers such as Eleanor Marx (with whom she lodged), but also two of the leading nonconformists of the day — Hugh Price Hughes, the self-appointed custodian of the Nonconformist Conscience, who wanted to use her evangelical powers for Wesleyan Methodism, and W.T. Stead, who enlisted her support for his 'Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon' crusade.54 In Arnoldian terms, Schreiner was a 'Hebraist'. Her tastes (writes a biographer) 'were intellectual rather than artistic'.55 There are few references in her correspondence to any other art than music. Clothes gave her no pleasure: she was careless of her personal 50. Olive Schreiner to Havelock Ellis in D.L. Hobman, Olive Schreiner: Her Friends and Times (London, 1955), p. 73. 51. V. Gardner, 'Introduction', in V. Gardner and S. Rutherford, ed., The New Woman and her Sisters: Feminism and Theatre, 1850-1914 (London, 1992), pp. 1-17, for a striking overview; P. Boumelha, Thomas Hardy and Women: Sexual Ideology and Narrative Form, pp. 135-54 (Brighton, 1982) for the ambiguously named Sue Bridehead. 52. Boumelha, Thomas Hardy and Women, pp. 135-36 quoting 'To Millicent Garrett Fawcett', 14 April 1892, in Thomas Hardy, Collected Letters, ed., R.L. Purdy and M. Millgate (Oxford, 1978). 53. Olive Schreiner, The Story of an African Farm (Harmondsworth, 1980), pt ii, ch. iv. S.K. Kent, Sex and Suffrage in Britain, 1860-1914 (Princeton, 1987), p. 84, quoting from M. Cairol's Daughters of Danaus. 54. Samuel Cronwright Schreiner, The Life of Olive Schreiner (London, 1924), pp. 181, 265, 289-90. 55. Hobman, Olive Schreiner, pp. 5-6.

The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914


appearance and a zealous advocate of dress reform. She had little or no taste for the minor pleasures of life. Her whole mode, as a feminist or a socialist, a war-resister or a social reformer, was that of the yearning soul. Like Carlyle, with whom she shared a taste for Old Testament prophecy, she attached a religious meaning to work, picturing labour — 'earnest, independent labour' — as the divine instrument of female emancipation, a deliverance from the house of bondage.56 She also had a religious view of love, looking for one that was 'great' and 'pure', yet a brooding melancholy told her that such a love would burn up like parchment in the fire, leaving only ashes.57 More distant echoes of Puritanism, crossed with nature mysticism and more sinisterly with late Victorian notions of race and class, might be seen in the idea of 'clean living', as it was propagated by the food reformers and faddists, the fresh-air fanatics and the community builders, or the pioneers of Callisthenics and Swedish Drill.58 In one idiom it was a short-hand expression for working-class respectability and the lines of division which separated the aristocracies of labour from the Great Unwashed. In another, adopted by the purity campaigners of the 1880s and 1890s — those agitations to which the 'Nonconformist Conscience' owes its name — it was a watchword for moral hygiene. In yet another, anxiously suggested by the Social Darwinists and the Eugenicists, it was bound up with fears of 'race degeneration'. By the 1900s, when go-ahead municipalities such as Battersea were establishing pure milk depots, or, like St. Pancras, a School for mothers, it was becoming an integral part of the Civic Gospel.59 When Margaret McMillan, in 1906, persuaded Sir Robert Morant, the very Cromwellian Chief Secretary of the Board of Education, to adopt a programme of medical inspection of the schools, it also became the cutting edge of state intervention in the lives of the poor.60 In terms of body politics, the New Hygiene has most recently been discussed as a sinister force. For the Foucauldians it represents a new stage in the ambition to establish medical strategies of surveillance and control. Historians of sexual politics associate it with the medicalisation and criminalisation of homosexuality.61 Students of the nineteenth-century eugenics remind us that in one direction it points forward to the compulsory sterilisation of the unfit — even, via ideas of 'race preservation', to the gas chambers. In the light of this it seems worth pointing out that, quite apart from its obvious contribution to the reduction in mortality rates (which fell steeply after 1870), the New Hygiene was associated in its time with movements that were forward-looking 56. Olive Schreiner, Woman and Labour (London, 1923). 57. Idem, The Story of an African Farm, pt ii, ch. iv. 58. For the introduction of Swedish Drill into the Board Schools, S. Fletcher, Women First: The Female Tradition in English Physical Education, 1880-1890 (London, 1984), pp. 17-24. 59. A. Davin, 'Imperialism and Motherhood', History Workshop Journal, 5, Spring 1978, pp. 9-65. 60. Steedman, Childhood, Culture and Class, pp. 54-57; B.B. Gilbert, The Evolution o/ National Insurance in Britain: The Origins of the Welfare State (London, 1966), pp. 117-58. 61. J. Weeks, Sex, Politics and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality since 1800 (London, 1981); F. Mort, Dangerous Sexualities: Medico-Moral Politics in England since 1830 (London, 1987); David Armstrong, Political Anatomy of the Body (Cambridge, 1983).


Revival and Religion since 1700

and progressive. From 'Hygieia' onwards (the vision of the smoke-free city presented to the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science in 1875)62 it was absolutely central to Utopian community-building projects; in organisations like the Clarion League, where vigorous exercise was in some sort the physiological counterpart to freedom from convention, it was no less central to New Life ideals. The emancipatory side of the New Hygiene was very much to the fore in the new girls' high schools of the 1870s, where Callisthenics or Swedish Drill replaced exercises in ladylike deportment. Frances Mary Buss's schools at Camden Town, 'a rather Bohemian quarter where artists and actors abounded', were the pioneers here.63 Early prospectuses and timetables noted that a college garden was available for gentle Callisthenics 'under the tutelage of Captain James Chiosso.' In the early 1870s, Miss Buss succeeded in gaining access for students to the St. Pancras Baths, engaged a swimming instructor, arranged for the students who made the most progress to receive a prize, and encouraged mistresses to give up free time to supervise.64 Sophie Bryant, who succeeded Miss Buss as headmistress, was both a keen supporter of hockey and the founder, in 1890, of the 'Healthy and Artistic Dress Union'.65 The New Hygiene attached a talismanic importance to the use of 'pure' water, not only as a cleanser but also as an invigorator, bringing listless limbs to life, and in the case of swimming — one of the New Hygiene's most genial enthusiasms — forcing clogged-up lungs to engage in deep breathing. As Peter Beilharz interestingly observes, the Fabian London programme, like William Morris's News from Nowhere, makes a great deal of the purification of the River Thames. 'Water, for Webb, is for cleaning; drinking water ought to be as pure and as soft as from a Welsh lake. London ought to provide its citizens with free public baths, railway stations with drinking fountains and hand-basins; parks should offer bathing and skating ponds. More, water should be supplied to every floor [of model dwellings] . . . and gas and hot water laid on.'66 Fresh air, vigorously promoted by housing reformers such as Octavia Hill was another of the New Hygiene's great enthusiasms: in the Model Dwellings built under her influence, doors and windows were kept deliberately ill-fitting in an attempt to force the rooms to breathe, and later adopted as a prophylactic against T.B. Like pure water, or bacteria-free milk, 'the pure air of heaven' 62. Benjamin Richardson, 'Address on Health', Transactions of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science (1875). 63. Sara A. Burstall, Retrospect and Prospect: Sixty Years of Women's Education (London, 1933). 64. K.E. McCrone, Sport and the Physical Education of Women (London, 1988), pp. 65-69. 65. J. Marsh, Back to the Land: The Pastoral Impulse in Victorian England from 1880 to 1914 (London, 1982), p. 193. 66. P. Beilharz, Labour's Utopias: Bolshevism, Fabianism, Social Democracy (London, 1992), p. 54. For Margaret McMillan's belief in water as the great awakener of the child's body, and swimming as the answer to poor breathing, Steedman, Childhood, Culture and Class, pp. 198-99.

The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914


was credited with both moral and thaumaturgical powers. 'More air, less alcohol',67 was one of the watchwords of the Garden City Movement and one so persuasive to those who took up residence at Letchworth — the Ultima Thule of Edwardian Progressivism — that they consistently voted to keep the town dry.68 For the children in McMillan's open-air nursery in Deptford, it opened the way to the stars: Here the little girls gathered each evening, as the sweltering day turned to twilight; pale faces brightened at the sight of the sweet-williams and white fox-gloves which 'I can look at after I'm in bed'. Here, sleepy eyes looked from their pillows at points of starry fire in the indigo blue depth; the night wind cooled their little heated bodies, and a primrose dawn called them awake. Will these children ever forget the healing joy of such nearness to the earth spirit as is possible even in Deptford?69

The influence of the New Hygiene is nowhere more apparent than in the field of dress reform. The idea of 'rational' or minimalist dress goes back at least as far as Rousseau's Emile, and it had been an unofficial feminist enthusiasm ever since Mary Wollstonecraft in The Vindication (1792) took up arms against the mind-numbing frivolities of fashion. But before the 1880s nothing like a successful movement had begun to appear. Among the Quakers, ancient protagonists of plainness of dress, the gravitational pull had been in the other direction, as Elizabeth Isichei reports. If Felix Holt is to be believed, something of the same may have been a threat to the Congregationalists of Treby Magna. The 1851 movement inspired by the American women's rights campaigner, Amelia Jenks Bloomer, was a failure, as was an attempt to revive it in the 1860s.70 'Aesthetic' dress, fashionably promoted in the 1870s by Arthur Liberty's new shop in Regent Street, seems to have been an affair of the culturally privileged. In the 1880s, however, under the banner of 'Sanitary . . . Clothing' and 'Hygienic Wear' (and finding expression in a series of 'Rational Dress' societies), loose-fitting, simplified garments, in the form of tweeds and jerseys, blouses and shorts came into their own.71 Sweat, it seems, was one of the bugbears on which the wollens movement fed. At Abbotsholme, first of the new Progressive Schools, established by a disciple of Edward Carpenter and a follower of the Fellowship of the New Life, 67. The phrase is Ralph Neville's, presiding over the 1901 Garden City Conference at Bourneville. Michael Day, 'The Contribution of Sir Raymond Unwin and Barry Parker' in Anthony Sutcliffe, ed., British Town Planning: The Formative Years (Leicester, 1981), p. 173. 68. R. Beevers, The Garden City Utopia: A Critical Biography of Ebenezer Howard (London, 1988), pp. 121-22. 69. Steedman, Childhood, Culture and Class, pp. 84-85. 70. For Bloomerism, A. Ribeiro, Dress and Morality (London, 1986), pp. 132-34, 139, 143-45. 71. See R. Strachey, The Cause (London, 1978), pp. 386-89, for the contribution of dress reform to feminism and D. Rubinstein, Before the Suffragettes: Women's Emancipation in the 1890s (Brighton, 1986), pp. 216-19. See The Rational Dress Gazette, 1888-89 for the progress of the movement.


Revival and Religion since 1700

'as little' clothing as was compatible with health, comfort and decency was the school rule. Underwear was forbidden; for their outer garments the boys were to wear 'as so far as possible' nothing tight and nothing but wool 'which keeps sweet and will not burn'.72 Similar fears seem to have prompted Baden-Powell in his choice of Boy Scouts uniform (in Scouting for Boys, as at Abbotsholme, 'sleeping on the back . . . with too many blankets on' was counted as a sin, on a par with 'eating rich food').73 The hygienic argument was also very much to the fore when dress reform was adopted by The Young Woman, a nonconformist illustrated monthly, addressed to work-girls and domestic servants. Reports on nonconformist good works were combined with serial stories by romantic novelists and practical articles on such matters as 'easily made, but useful . . . gifts'. Heavy clothing, readers were taught, was responsible for undue fatigue, for overheating and for afterchills. Corsets enfeebled the muscles and produced round shoulders. Superfluous petticoats impeded freedom of movement: From the point of view of health the modern woman is far ahead of her grandmother . . . although she is still far below the ideal hygienic standpoint. She dresses more sensibly, more hygienically and more appropriately . . . The frills and furbelows of the early Victorian period would never be tolerated in these days of out-door girls and business young women . . . The gospel of cleanliness — medical cleanliness — has been preached to such purpose that we are beginning to learn the lesson that the less durable and the more frequently washed our clothing the better . . . The modern blouse, for example, is a hygienic garment, because it can be frequently changed and frequently washed. Compare it with the heavy polonaise of five-and-thirty years ago, a garment as ridiculous, artistically speaking, as it was undesirable, hygienically speaking, because of its weight, and the fact that it was generally made of unwashable material.74

In the case of food reform, where the 1880s saw the start of a widespread revolt against Victorian gluttony and the birth of the vegetarian movement, gastronomic arguments, developed by the New Hygiene, and animal rights ones propagated by Henry Salt's Humanitarian League seem to have merged with 'New Life' and feminist arguments about companionate marriage.75 Plain food was not only more nutritious than delicacies and dainties, it was also labour-saving, freeing the woman of the house from the servitudes of elaborate cooking, and giving her time for the pursuit of higher things. It seems to

72. Marsh, Back to the Land, pp. 210-11. 73. M. Rosenthal, The Character Factory: Baden-Powell and the Origins of the Boy Scout Movement (London, 1986), p. 186. 74. E. Chesser, 'Health and Clothing', Young Woman, xvii (1908-9), p. 165. See also 'Dress, the Real versus the Ideal', ibid., pp. 408-10. 75. H.S. Salt, Seventy Years among Savages (London, 1921); S. Winsten, Salt and his Circle (London, 1951), for the 1890s campaigns of the Humanitarian League who were pioneer defenders of animal rights.

The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914


have been adopted, for this reason, as one of the unofficial causes of the Garden City Movement. Letchworth, that 'New Jerusalem' of Ann Veronica's artistically-minded socialist suitor,76 was a veritable show-case of food faddism, with a 'Food Reform Restaurant and Simple Life Hotel', a 'Health Food Store' ('under the personal supervision of ... a life vegetarian') and a galaxy of bakers selling wholemeal bread.77 Baillie Scott, one of the architects of the Garden City Movement, had dreamed of a dining-room table no longer 'disfigured' by the family joint, 'but adorned, instead with piles of luscious fruit and nuts'.78 To judge by the number of herbivores and teetotallers who settled in the town (it remained dry, by popular vote, down to 1920) his dream may well have been realised. In the 1890s and 1900s, as in earlier periods of the nineteenth century, nonconformity presented itself, in one aspect at least, as a modernising force, on the side of progress and change. Havelock Ellis, the sexual radical, argued (in 1907) that in England 'the vital movement of Reform' and that of what he called 'Puritanism' were umbilically linked and historically coterminous. It was out of Puritanism 'as represented by Milton' that the first 'genuinely modern' conception of the marriage relationship had emerged. 'Milton, in his Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, published in 1643, 'proclaimed the supremacy of the substance of marriage over the form of it', and the spiritual autonomy of the individual in the regulation of that form. He had grasped the meaning of that conception of personal responsibility 'which is the foundation of sexual relationships as they are beginning to appear today'. The Puritan influence was transferred to America 'and constituted the leaven which still slowly works in producing the liberal though too minutely detailed divorce laws of many states'. In England, sadly, the spirit of 'blind conservatism' had reasserted itself.79 The progressivism of nineteenth-century nonconformity is particularly apparent in the sphere of women's rights. As Ray Strachey wrote in The Cause, the chapel-based anti-slavery agitations of the 1840s and 1850s were the first in which women's right to an independent political voice had been acknowledged.80 It was largely, though not exclusively, from the ranks of old dissent — the Quakers and Unitarians especially — that the Langham Place circle formed in the late 1850s; the first feminist pressure-group.81 At a later date the Salvation Army, whose phenomenal late Victorian growth might serve to put in question current chronologies of secularisation, was the first national movement, religious or political, in which women appeared not as auxiliaries but as principals. Ray Strachey, who was closer to these things 76. H.G. Wells, Ann Veronica (London, 1910). 77. Marsh, Back to the Land, p. 233. 78. M.H. Baillie Scott, Houses and Gardens (London, 1906), p. 21. 79. Havelock Ellis, Sex in Relation to Society (London, 1937), p. 353. 80. Strachey, The Cause, pp. 43-44, Isichei, Victorian Quakers, pp. 252-55 for Quaker support. 81. S. Alexander, 'The Langham Place Circle', in Essays in Feminist History (forthcoming).


Revival and Religion since 1700

than we are, argued that the army, which came into formal existence in 1875, 'exerted a most tremendous influence upon the position of women' and that the 'practical example of sex equality' which it displayed 'did more than millions of arguments to destroy the suspicion and prejudice of the poor'. In 1880s London, as Judith Walkowitz remarks in City of Dreadful Delight, the Hallelujah lasses were amongst the most conspicuous representatives of emancipated womanhood to brave the streets of the metropolis.82 They were also, as Major Barbara reminds us, certainly amongst the most audible. British feminism was not as closely linked as its American counterpart to the temperance cause,83 while the Edwardian franchise agitation drew its followers from many different spheres. But recent research has highlighted the close links between the suffrage movement and the purity crusades of the 1880s and 1890s, where numbers of suffragists served a political novitiate. The tactics of the suffrage movement — militant acts, by-election interventions, extraparliamentary mobilisation — were those brilliantly initiated by Josephine Butler in her campaign for the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts.84 So far as consciousness-raising is concerned, these movements (some historians have been at pains to argue) were more important in challenging male supremacy than the legal and parliamentary campaigns which produced divorce law reform and the Married Women's Property Acts. Josephine Butler's campaign 'destroyed the conspiracy of silence surrounding sex'; the White Slavery agitation served as a dramatic, if extreme, example of the fate of women in a male-defined and male-controlled society.85 Cumulatively these 'Puritan' campaigns, radical-nonconformist in the constituencies on which they drew and running in tandem with an increasingly politicised and powerful temperance movement, had the effect of highlighting domestic tyrants, violent drunks, aristocratic libertines; and of picturing women as the symbolic victims of male animality. These themes, it is argued, formed part of the Suffragette unconscious, giving a tremendous moral authority to its claims. They became publicly visible when, as a result of the split between the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, with its strong labour movement roots, and the direct-actionists of the W.S.P.U., anxious to court 'those frail hot-house blooms, the Conservative supporters of women's suffrage', the militants transposed the field of battle from politics to sexuality.86 As Christabel Pankhurst, in the notorious article which claimed that 70 per cent

82. Strachey, The Cause, pp. 212-16, J.R. Walkowitz, City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London (London, 1992), pp. 76-79. 83. For the connections between feminism and prohibitionism in the United States, A.S. Kraditor, The Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement, 1890-1920 (New York, 1981), pp. 57-62, 72-73. 84. J.R. Walkowitz, Prostitution and Victorian Society: Women, Class and the State (Cambridge, 1980). 85. S.K. Kent, Sex and Suffrage in Britain, 1860-1914 (Princeton, 1987). 86. Pankhurst, The Suffragette Movement, pp. 522-23 quoted in L. Tickner, The Spectacle of Women: Imagery of the Suffrage Campaign (London, 1987), p. 224.

The Discovery of'Puritanism, 1820-1914


of the male population were the carriers of venereal disease, urged: 'Votes for Women and Chastity for Men'. The discovery of the 'social question' — the name given to the Conditionof-England question when, in the 1880s, it reemerged at the centre of public debate, also owed a great deal to nonconformity. In one aspect — the symbolic centrality which it gave to the idea of the 'slum' (a term coined in 1880—81 which spread like wildfire)87 — it could be seen as a counterpart, in the sphere of public provision, to those rescue movements launched by the Salvation Army which had as their object the reclamation of the lower depths. In another, the fear of race or urban 'degeneration', it had obvious affinities to the purity movements of the time, and the moral panics associated with sexuallytransmitted disease. In a third, 'bourgeois guilt' or what Beatrice Webb calls 'social compunction', the way for it had been prepared by the hugely popular 'waif novels of such socially-conscious Sunday School prize book writers as Hesba Stretton and Silas K. Hocking. It was a Congregational minister, Andrew Mearns, whose 1883 pamphlet The Bitter Cry of Outcast London put housing reform on the agenda of national politics.88 And it was the nonconformist Settlement houses, such as Mansfield House in West Ham or the Bermondsey Settlement — much more involved in local politics than their high-Anglican or broad-church counterparts — which agitated the social question in the school boards, the poor law guardians, and the borough councils.89 It is perhaps indicative of this that the social question was so frequently conceptualised, or perhaps one should say visualised, in biblical or Bunyanesque terms, as it was to be, almost irrespective of politics, right down to 1942, when Sir William Beveridge prefaced his revolutionary proposals for national insurance by invoking the five giants — Want, Disease, Squalor, Ignorance, Idleness — which stood between the citizen and social security.90 Andrew Mearns, in The Bitter Cry of Outcast London, pictures a people living in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. General Booth, in his In Darkest England (co-authored with the sensation journalist W.T. Stead) is even 87. See O.E.D. The term 'black slum' is an earlier one. O.E.D. attributes 'slumming' to 1884, and 'slumdom' to 1882. 88. Mearns had been appointed secretary to the London Congregational Union in 1876. The Bitter Cry was actually written by W.C. Preston, a Congregational minister who had held a pastorate at Wigan during the Cotton Famine and had been active there in relief work. He also had experience as a journalist. Mearns, assisted by the Rev. James Munro, did the field work on which the pamphlet was based. S. Mayor, The Churches and the Labour Movement (London, 1967), p. 56. It was W.T. Stead, the editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, who turned The Bitter Cry into a sensation; he did so by deliberately linking its revelations about housing conditions with dark suggestions of incest. 89. For the Browning Settlement, Lambeth, which included prayers for Progressive victories in LCC elections in its services, Cox, English Churches in a Secular Society, p. 171, and for Scott Lidgett's political activism at the Bermondsey Settlement, Fenner Brockway, Bermondsey Story: The Life of Alfred Salter (London, 1949), pp. 13, 17, 23, 39, 26-7. 90. Social Insurance and Allied Services: Report by Sir William Beveridge, (London, 1942), p. 6.


Revival and Religion since 1700

more phantasmagoric.91 The sombrely coloured frontispiece, modelled on those beehive models of The Pilgrim's Progress which were so popular with the Victorian illustrators, depicts London as a shipwreck where three million souls are perishing in a storm-tossed sea, 'the unemployed', 'the homeless' and 'drunkards' sinking into 'starvation'. 'Envy', 'Covetousness' and 'Avarice' are the pillars on one side of the picture; 'Uncleanness', 'Adultery' and 'Fornication', the other. Salvation Army officers with arms outstretched — the men in red-coats, the women in bonnets — are trying to bring survivors to the shore, while near at hand are those more immediate palliatives recommended by the best progressive opinion of the day: 'Labour Bureau'; 'Lodging for Single Women'; 'Suburban Villages Twelve Miles from Town'. In the middle distance there is the Promised Land of 'the Farm Colony'; and on the far horizon that great white hope of the time, bathed in a sunset glow, 'the Colony across the Sea'. For the young Beatrice Potter, a rent collector for the Charity Organisation Society in the neighbourhood of St. Katharine's Dock, East London was a vortex, dragging the population down with it, some contriving to keep their heads above water, others giving themselves up to the whirlpool.92 Margaret McMillan pictures her open-air nursery in Deptford as an oasis of light while its surroundings are a Slough of Despond, 'a black ooze, a deep sinking bed', very deep and steep, 'the soft black yielding mass under the black waters of Poverty. At every step one goes down and down'.93 Another extremely potent idiom, in this case drawn directly from the radical-nonconformst 'purity' crusades of the 1880s, but applied to industrial conditions rather than slum housing, was 'White Slavery'. W.T. Stead reintroduced the term into political rhetoric when mounting his 'Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon' campaign of 1885. Three years later, when Stead joined hands with Annie Besant, he acted as her co-editor on the Link and promoted 'Ironside Clubs' for her Law and Liberty League. In the aftermath of 'Bloody Sunday' white slavery was famously applied to the Bryant and May match girls whom Annie Besant led in their strike — the spark which set fire to the Thames and brought about the huge upheaval of metropolitan labour.94 In the labour press of the 1890s industrial atrocities, whether in the form of pit explosions, 'sweating', or the malodorous conditions of 'the dangerous trades' were the staple fare of socialist propaganda. The Labour Leader devoted a weekly column to them, and alongside the telling local reportage, there were also the more emotive appeals, couched in the melodramatic idiom which Stead had so flamboyantly pioneered in the cause of the child-prostitutes: 91. W. Booth, In Darkest England and the Way Out (London, 1890). 92. 'Alas for the pitifulness of this ever-recurring drama of low life — this long chain of unknowing iniquity, children linked on to parents, friends to friends, ah, and lovers to lovers — bearing down to that bottomless pit of decaying life', Beatrice Potter, 'The Docks', in C. Booth, Life and Labour of the People in London, i, p. 29. 93. Steedman, Childhood, Culture and Class, p. 115. 94. A.H. Nethercot, The First Five Lives of Annie Besant (London, 1961), pp. 263-275; Besant, op.cit., pp. 329-38; Walkowitz, Dreadful Delight, pp. 76-9.

The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914


The Industrial Shambles Huddled and blindfold to the shambles driven, These are the deaths that human cattle die, Flung headlong to the ghastly jaws that ply At pain's unending banquet — God in Heaven! Are not the Devil's tithes most justly given With blood and bone and fibred flesh weighed out? Here's Britain's balance righteously made out — So many thousands risked, some six or seven Swept daily by the croupier Usury's rake. Into the mounted mound of wasted lives. This is the tax of tears on widowed wives And children orphaned — Up ye men and wake, (A murrin that this mammon's dance survives!) Some flint of action strike for Freedom's sake! —J.R.T. 95 The British Labour Party was proclaimedly secular in intention. Before 1914 it was limited in aim, restricting its brief to the representation of the legal and economic interests of the trade unionists. It eschewed sectarian religious affiliations and took no part in the campaigns for religious equality, or the disestablishment of the Anglican Church. It placed its emphasis on state intervention rather than self-help, social provision rather than moral reform. Yet the party was founded at the Memorial Hall, Farringdon Road, a monument to the bicentenary of 1662, and in its early years it displayed the strongest possible affinities to its radical-nonconformist predecessors.96 The Independent Labour Party was famously chapel-bred, drawing many of its early recruits from the young men's 'mutual improvement societies' and finding its early electoral constituencies in such strongly nonconformist parts of the country as the West Riding of Yorkshire, Scotland, County Durham, and South Wales.97 Meetings — indoor or open-air — were conducted with all the fervour, and many of the rituals, of a religious mission, prefaced or punctuated by a choir, 'singing for socialism' and winding up with what Philip Snowden described as 'Come to Jesus' appeals.98 The Fabian 95. Labour Leader, 2 June 1894, p. 7 (and also 'The Industrial Shambles', column ibid., 5, 12, 19 May 1894. See R.H. Sherard, The White Slaves of England (London, 1897). 96. For some dramatic encounters between Labour and nonconformity in the earliest days of the I.L.P. and the Labour Church movement, see Labour Prophet, November 1892 (J. Keir Hardie addressing, and then being shouted down at the Horton Lane Chapel, Bradford); D. Howell, British Workers and the Independent Labour Party, 1888-1906 (Manchester, 1983), p. 182, for the stormy divisions in the Bradford Nonconformist Association and the Bradford Temperance Confederation when Ben Tillett stood as Independent Labour candidate in the election of 1892. 97. Laycock's Temperance Hotel was the original nursery of Bradford socialism. Fenner Brockway, Socialism over Sixty Years: The Life of Jowett of Bradford, 1864-1944 (London, 1946), p. 30. 98. P. Snowden, An Autobiography, 2 vols (London, 1934), i, p. 82.


Revival and Religion since 1700

Society, though avowedly 'modern' and composed 'chiefly' of 'the younger people of middle class', was no less wedded to guilt-tripping, arguing that it was only by a grand act of renunciation that the comfortable classes could purge themselves of their unearned wealth. The socialism of the 1880s and 1890s had very strong affinities to the purity movements of the time. Socialists may not have denounced the music halls as 'temples of Beelzebub', the position they occupied for General Booth," but they were forever taking issue with the 'coarseness' of working-class life. 'Materialism' was one of their great enemies;100 the corruptions of mass entertainment another; the 'gambling spirit' (epitomised by capitalism) a third. The early socialist movement recruited itself from self-consciously minority elects who derived much of their adrenalin from the belief that they were a people apart. Working-class adherents were apt to pride themselves on being 'clean livers' and on that account gave a heartfelt support not only to temperance (one of Labour's unofficial causes) but also to such New Life crotchets as vegetarianism.101 Middle-class converts were no less apt to insist on the ways they had renounced worldly advantage and material comfort to wipe the slate clean. The religious impulse was very strong in Keir Hardie, Labour's best-known public figure. He was closely associated, in the 1890s, with the Labour Church movement, which he supported not only as a means of spreading the socialist word, but also as a way of keeping the infant movement up to the mark. If the I.L.P. was made up 'chiefly of great men and women inspired by a great ideal, it will be irrepressible'; if it fell 'into the hands of drinking, card-playing, worldly-minded folk, then it had better never been born.'102 Hardie was never happier than when expounding the social gospel in religious terms. He presented himself to the public as a Christ-like figure, and indeed Caroline Benn, in her new biography, suggests that so close was the identification that he may actually have believed himself to be the Messiah.103 He was also not averse to taking on the mantle of an Old Testament prophet when the occasion demanded it, as during an address to support a railway strike:

99. H. Begbie, The Life of William Booth, the Founder of the Salvation Army, i (London, 1920), p. 451. 100. Opening the William Morris Labour Church at Leek, Staffs., Dr Russell Wallace praised 'a great man (who) . . . strove with all high might to convince this materialistic age, whose only real God is Mammon, that there was a better way than that which they were following'. Labour Leader, 9 January, 1987, p. 3, col. 4. 101. Tom Mann, rinding his feet as a young engineer in 1880s London, was one of the many who came under the spell of food reform: 'When I came to recognise limitations in the temperance movement, I extended my activities to embrace food reform . . . That which weakened my ardour in this direction was the recognition that however widely food reform might be diffused, it would never prove a cure for the economic evils I deplored'. Tom Mann, Memoirs (London, 1923), pp. 54-55. 102. Quoted in Labour Prophet, March 1895, p. 36. 103. C. Benn, Keir Hardie (London, 1992), p. 18.

The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914


Oh, men and women, in the name of God whom ye profess to believe in ... Come out from the House of bondage, fight for freedom, fight for manhood, fight for the coming day when in body, soul and spirit you will be free to live your own lives, and give glory to your Creator'.104

Hardie was a lifelong purity campaigner. Abstinence was his first political cause; he served his political apprenticeship as a full-time temperance worker and even when he transferred his allegiance to the I.L.P. he remained hopeful that the temperance and socialist movements could march together hand-inhand.105 He supported the anti-music-hall policy of the London County Council and argued strongly for the municipalisation of the drink trade, believing that public houses under municipal ownership could be transformed from drinking dens 'associated with all kinds of demoralising influences' into healthy places of public resort.106 In a similar spirit he supported vegetarianism, 'as an attempt to secure a cleaner standard of living'.107 In parliament, in 1912, Hardie seized on the Queenie Gerard case — a high-society scandal of the time — in an attempt to revive the White Slavery agitation. Invoking the spectre of 350,000 'fallen women', he accused the Home Secretary of making himself the cover for 'rich scoundrels', and pledged that he would not rest until the land had been cleansed of the 'filthy brood'.108 Hardie was no less preoccupied with cleanliness in inner-party life. He refused to have anything to do with Robert Blatchford after seeing him in the company of theatricals.109 When it came to his attention that John Trevor, the respected founder of the Labour Church movement, had married for a second time, he wrote at once to say that this conduct had 'given the movement . . . a blow . . . it will not recover from in a hurry' and asked Trevor to resign. He was similarly severe with Tom Mann when he was found to be attending meetings in the company of a woman other than his wife, forcing him to step down from the I.L.P. secretaryship.110 Ramsay MacDonald, the secretary of the Parliamentary Labour Party, was an altogether more secular figure than Keir Hardie, and a more administrativelyminded one. But the Fellowship of the New Life, of which he was for some years the Secretary, had been his initiation into politics and he retained from it a very strong taste for ethical propaganda.111 When he fought his first election 104. Ibid., p. 259. 105. Keir Hardie, 'The Temperance Question', Labour Leader, 17 April 1897. 106. Waters, 'Progressives, Puritans and Cultural Polities', p. 65. 107. Keir Hardie, 'Towards Municipal Socialism', Co-operative Wholesale Society Annual for 1901, p. 304. 108. The Queenie Gerard Case: A Public Scandal. White Slavery in a Piccadilly Flat. An Exposure, by Keir Hardie M.P. is the title of a penny pamphlet issued by the National Labour Press. For an account of Hardie's conduct in parliament over the case, Benn, Keir Hardie, pp.305-6. 109. Ibid., p. 84. 110. Ibid., pp. 143-44. 111. MacDonald also lived at 'Fellowship House', the 'Utopia' which the Fellowship set up at 29 Doughty Street, Bloomsbury, in 1891.


Revival and Religion since 1700

in 1894, as I.L.P. candidate for Southampton, he tried to establish a branch of the Labour Church, sending his agent the Labour Church Hymn Book ('I have marked those that seem to be the favourites') and urging that in the forthcoming campaign 'the ethical side of the movement' should be kept well to the front, with 'music, singing, exhortative readings and short discourses'.112 As Secretary of the Parliamentary Labour Party and later as party leader, MacDonald amplified this rhetoric, infusing it with his readings from the moralists and the poets, charging it with the melancholy of the Highland mists. It enabled him to take the high ground when facing down party enemies or dealing with divisions and splits. A most interesting example — very a propos for the present essay — is the 'Plea for Puritanism' which he published in 1912. The unspoken targets of attack were the rebellious spirits — among them Robert Blatchford — who had recently formed a rival organisation, the British Socialist Party: Puritanism is not popular. It has been associated with hypocrisy and cant, with spiritual gloom and self-righteousness, with eyes turned up to heaven and black mittens. And these things are not popular . . . But the Labour movement must welcome Puritanism if it is to be any good, or even if it is to last. And the reasons are these amongst others: Our young men who join us full of enthusiasm against the present crushing order of society will never be disciplined and hardened for the fight, made wary against its difficulties, and sobered in preparation for its triumphs by the vanity and mental exhilaration of tall and smart talk, of platform bravado, of literary swashbuckling. The man who is to do anything in the Labour and Socialist movement must begin by getting himself in hand. He has to serve an apprenticeship in mental and moral discipline . . . Then the Puritan spirit protects the movement against rascals of all types. With the Puritan, character must always count. The Puritan can no more ask what has private character to do with public life than he can ask what has theft to do with honesty. The Puritan view is that personality does count, and that sterling qualities count in personality. A man who has been unfaithful to a woman may be a fine mob orator, but he is untrustworthy as a representative of men, and is unworthy of any position of public trust and responsibility.113

Reference might be made, finally, to the persistent interplay — so evident in Ramsay MacDonald's own brand of evolutionary socialism, with its Darwinian, nature-derived theodicy — between Puritan soul-striving and more secular and (or scientistic) mysticisms. The overlap between spiritualism and socialism — or in the case of W.T. Stead spiritualism and radical

112. J. Cox, ed., A Singular Marriage: A Labour Love Story in Letters and Diaries (London, 1988), p. 20. 113. 'A Plea for Puritanism', Socialist Review, v. no. 48, February 1912.

The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914


nonconformity and 'Cromwellianism' — has been well-documented.114 It was interestingly represented on the Labour benches at Westminster by Frank Smith, the long-serving M.P. for Nuneaton, and for many years Keir Hardie's right-hand man and closest confidant. A part-time evangelist for the Salvation Army in 1879, and later a leading Commissioner — the editor of the newspaper the War Cry, leader of the Social Reform wing of the Army and according to some the original author of its social programme — Smith later became a fiery propagandist and resourceful organiser for the I.L.P. Returning briefly, in 1901, to service in the Salvation Army he finally settled for Socialism and a version of spiritualism which he practised until his death."5 Then one could refer to those more modernist mysticisms — such as Nature cures, play therapy or, in Sons and Lovers, the early stirrings of the sacramental view of the sexual act — which were such a feature of ethical movements in fin de siede and Edwardian England. Theosophy — the bridge which carried Annie Besant, the erstwhile wife of a mid Victorian Anglican curate to presidency (in 1917) of the Indian National Congress116 — would be worth a particular mention, if only because of its influence, through Rudolf Steiner's books on the 'child-mind,' on the 'Progressive' movement in English education, and because it prefigured those many different versions of 'One-Worldism' which were to exert so powerful an imaginative appeal in the wake of the Great War. Inaugurated, in New York, by Madame Blavatsky, an expatriate and peripatetic Russian visionary, Theosophy claimed to subsume, in its Secret Doctrine, the core teachings of the religions and philosophies of the world. For all its Kabbalism, theosophy presented itself as a futurism, in harmony with the advanced scientific thought of its day. As a revisionist Darwinianism it promised evolution to a higher consciousness and a higher state of being. In its vegetarianism it brought Nature and Culture together and offered a new harmony of body and soul. In its neo-Eugenicist concern with the perfection of the species, it put birth control — the neo-Malthusian cause which Annie Besant had championed in her Secularist days — on a spiritual plane. As she wrote in 1896, explaining why she had abandoned the advocacy of contraception: Theosophists should sound the note of self-restraint within marriage, and the restriction of the marital relation to the perpetuation of the race . . . passing

114. L. Barrow, Independent Spirits: Spiritualism and English Plebeians, 1859-1910 (London, 1986). 115. K.S. Inglis, Churches and the Working Classes in Victorian England, pp. 201ff, 298ff (London, 1963); E.I. Champness, Frank Smith, M.P. Pioneer and Modern Mystic (London, 1943). 116. For the later stages of Annie Besant's life, A.H. Nethercot, The Last Four Lives of Annie Besant (London, 1963); and the very good recent monograph, R. Dinnage, Annie Besant (Harmondsworth, 1986).


Revival and Religion since 1700

from Materialism to Theosophy, I must pass from neo-Malthusianism to what will be called asceticism.117

In Edwardian times, Theosophy established a strong following among the Fabians, appealing especially, it seems, to those 'practical mystics', such as health workers, doctors and teachers who seized on whatever could give cosmic significance to their work.118 It was a vivid presence among the Simple Lifers of Letchworth Garden City, where the Brotherhood Church of the Rev. Bruce Wallace subscribed to it, and the semi-monastic artistic colony of 'The Cloisters' was dedicated to 'Eternal Reality' and 'The Perfect Inviolable Whole'. It was also, it seems, a presence in the women's movement. Charlotte Despard, 'the famous exponent of Woman Suffrage, and the untiring toiler among the working girls of London', was one of those who embraced it. The Theosophist, in 1911, called her 'one of the Saintliest of womenTheosophists',119 and she herself, in the chapter which she contributed to The Case for Women's Suffrage (1907), invoked Isis of Egypt, Athene Pallas of Greece, Juno of Rome, the Virgin Mother, the medieval abbesses who sat on state councils, and great saints such as Catherine of Siena and Teresa of Avila. (By contrast Mrs Pankhurst 'kept strictly to the political points in hand', while Christabel Pankhurst's summary of female civil disabilities was 'brisk'.)120 Gandhi, in his remarkable syncretism of Eastern and Western religion, gave global significance and political weight to ideas and undercurrents which might otherwise seem to be the sectarian property of the wilder and more antinomian fringes of Anglo-American progressivism. It was a reading of Ruskin's Unto This Last and of Edward Carpenter's Civilisation: Its Cause and Cure (he called Carpenter 'a great English writer') which converted him to that version of Simple Lifeism, which, in Hind Swaraj, the movement for Indian Home Rule which he launched in South Africa in 1909, became the great argument for rejecting western civilisation. His student years in London, 'crucial for his intellectual growth', introduced him to the philosophy and practice of vegetarianism (his first publication was an article in an 1892 issue of The Vegetarian), and most significantly of all (through a meeting with Madame Blavatsky and Annie Besant of the Theosophical Society) to the world-historical importance of Hindu religion and philosophy. Four years later

117. Annie Besant, 'Theosophy and the Law of Population' (1896), repr. in S. Chandraskhar, ed., 'A Dirty, Filthy Book': The Writings of Charles Knowlton and Annie Besant: NonReproductive Physiology and Birth Control — an Account of the Bradlaugh-Besant Trial (Berkeley, CA, 1981). I owe this reference to Suzanne Rait. 118. Thus for instance one finds Dr L. Haden Guest, in later years Labour M.P. and a leading spirit in the Socialist Medical Association, writing on 'Theosophy and Social Reconstruction' in the August 1911 issue of the Theosophist, while the journal itself, both editorially and through the articles of Annie Besant engaged intensely with the national railways strike of August 1911 and the industrial unrest of that time. 119. Theosophist, xxiii (1911-12), p. 391 120. Quoted in M. Mulvihill, Charlotte Despard: A Biography (London, 1989), p. 76.

The Discovery of Puritanism, 1820-1914


it was in attempting to produce a Sanskrit translation for some Theosophical friends in South Africa that he first discovered the Bhagavad-Gita — the foundation of his life's work. Gandhi's passionate advocacy of cleanliness — like the practice of arts-andcrafts, it was built into his campaign for national regeneration — has also been attributed to his student days in London. It seems legitimate to wonder whether his personal rejection of sexuality may not have owed something to that preference for 'spiritual' union which was such a feature of Theosophy, as of New Life circles of all kinds. In any event, if one wanted to look for twentieth-century inheritors of fin de siecle notions of 'purity', the overseas diaspora might turn out to be as rewarding, even inspiring, to enquire into as more indigenous progeny.

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The 'Golden Age' of New York City Catholicism Hugh McLeod

Histories of New York Catholic parishes often assume a tone of nostalgia when describing the years around the beginning of this century. For George Kelly, in his history of St John the Evangelist parish on the Middle East Side of Manhattan, these were 'the "golden years" of the Church of New York'.1 Kelly identified this golden age particularly with the pastorate of Monsignor William Flood (1880-1923), and in a characteristic passage he referred to: The bounding vigor of parishes in the later nineteenth century — thousands of mass attenders, hundreds of involved parish workers, building construction and expansion, burnt mortgages, house to house visitations, anointing the sick, burying the dead, mammoth entertainments in the parish hall, and equally mammoth excursions away, confessional lines until ten o'clock on a Saturday night, and, midnight fasting to the contrary, full altar rails on Sunday morning, four weeks missions in upper and lower churches . . .2 Henry J. Browne, in his history of St Michael's parish on the Middle West Side, commented that memory had given a golden age character to the pastorate of John Gleeson (1890-1919): For the last time it was a closely knit homogeneous community. Doctors, lawyers, and teachers, as well as priests and prelates, had come out of the school and given it prestige. There was a sense of unity and belonging as mothers gathered, for example, in the Mothers' Club, or neighbors took care of one another in illness. Hardly anyone locked his door in the tenements and an abuse of this trust could only be the work of an outsider. Crimes of violence are not much recalled from that time . . .3

1. G.A. Kelly, The Parish (New York, 1973), p. 90. I wish to thank the British Academy, the University of Birmingham and the former Social Science Research Council for research grants, and Jay Dolan, Father Thomas Farrelly and the late Henry J. Browne for help in getting access to sources for this essay. 2. Ibid., p. 64. 3. H.J. Browne, The Parish of St Michael's, 1857-1957 (New York, 1957), p. 44.



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However, in a typically sardonic aside, Browne added that: The fact is that in the same tenement on 35th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues, were incubated gang-leader of the Gophers, Owney Madden, who went to Sing Sing for a shooting in 1914, and the two McMahon brothers who became priests.

As Browne hinted, there is a strong element of selective amnesia in the 'golden age' myth, and in his superb history of Sacred Heart parish he was at pains to ensure that no noise, hazard or stench was omitted from his account of West Side tenement life.4 Nonetheless, there are aspects of the New York Catholicism of that era that are undeniably impressive. Most obviously, there are the sheer numbers involved. The Manhattan church census of 1902 counted 317,000 adult Catholics at church services on a single Sunday which, according to my estimate, makes an attendance rate of 50 per cent.5 Catholic New Yorkers not only attended mass with a regularity that marked them out from most of the other metropolitan populations of the time; they also were willing to pay to support their priests and build their churches and schools. The financial records of New York parishes of this period frequently reveal that the burden was spread between thousands of small contributors, whereas the wealthy patrons, who so often had a dominant position both in Catholic and in Protestant parishes in Europe, had a relatively small role.6 Another point that stands out, when the New York Catholicism of this period is compared with the churches in Europe, is the remarkable degree to which the active membership of New York parishes comprised a wide spread of occupational groups, extending from labourers and servants to doctors and businessmen. Admittedly the evidence on this subject is limited, and there are some indications that by the early twentieth century the middle-class element was beginning to be over-represented. However, one very clear example is offered by the strongly Irish Sacred Heart parish on the West Side, where a Collectors' Book from 1882 lists over a thousand contributing households.7 Identification of a sample of contributors in the census schedules shows that they comprised a remarkably well-balanced cross-section of the population of Irish stock living in the parish. 76 per cent of contributing households were headed by a manual worker, as against 78 per cent of a random sample of households in the parish with members who were of Irish stock; 15 per cent of the contributing households included members who were illiterate, as against 4. Idem, One Stop Above Hell's Kitchen: Sacred Heart Parish in Clinton (Hackensack, 1977), pp. 7-9, 34. 5. New York Times, 24 November 1902. For detailed discussion of the census, see H. McLeod, Poverty and Piety: Working Class Religion in Berlin, London and New York, 1870-1914 (forthcoming). 6. See annual Financial Reports in the Archive of the Archdiocese of New York [A.A.N.Y.], which is at St Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie, in Yonkers. In most parishes the major source of income was the charge (typically 10 cents) made for seats at mass. 7. This is in the parish archive, Sacred Heart rectory.

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16 per cent of the random sample. The relatively small middle-class element included several politicians, most notably George Washington Plunkitt, who became a legend when a satirical journalist published a series of interviews under the title, Plunkitt of Tammany Hall: A Series of Very Plain Talks on Very Practical Politics.91 More typical were the numerous grocers and saloonkeepers. But the bulk of subscribing households were made up of those like the Lynch or McNay families living in tenements on West 52nd Street. The Irish-born Thomas Lynch was a coachman, while his Irish-born wife Rose kept house; neither could write. They had three children at school, and also living with them was a young nephew — a very common situation in New York immigrant families, where orphans were often taken in by relatives. The Irish-born Mary McNay was a widow, living with her sixteen-year-old son. She worked as a laundress, while he worked in a photographic gallery.9 The overwhelming majority of contributors to Sacred Heart parish were either Irish-born or of Irish descent. This ethnic homogeneity was characteristic of New York parishes over many decades. This was obviously true of the ethnic parishes, which catered for the needs of German, Italian, Polish, Bohemian, Hungarian immigrants — and indeed for smaller numbers of immigrants from several other countries too. But it was equally true of most territorial parishes: all of those the records of which I have seen in the pre-1914 period had an active membership that was made up very largely of Irish immigrants and their descendants — though a somewhat more varied community received the rites of passage.10 In Manhattan and the Bronx, with their numerous ethnic parishes, second-generation German-Americans continued to attend the same churches as their parents, and by the early twentieth century, ethnic parishes were offering services in both languages;11 in Brooklyn, with fewer ethnic parishes, mixing of immigrants from different backgrounds may have started earlier.12 The 'golden age' of the New York parish was to a large extent a golden age of the Irish parish, though some German and Polish parishes seem to have shown very similar characteristics. For some other Catholic immigrants, for instance the Italians and the Bohemians, the role of the parish was smaller: if the Italian parish had a golden age it came much later.13 Here I shall be writing mainly 8. Edited by W.L. Riordon (New York, 1905). 9. H. Diner, Erin's Daughters in America: Irish Immigrant Women in the Nineteenth Century (Baltimore, 1983), pp. 60-2, emphasises the large proportion of widows among these immigrant women. 10. See Browne, Sacred Heart, pp. 29-36, for the multiplication of ethnic parishes on the West Side and the gradual erosion of Irish dominance at Sacred Heart itself. 11. Letter of Father Strack to archbishop, 25 March 1908, St Anthony of Padua, Bronx, file (A.A.N.Y.). 12. J.K. Sharp, History of the Diocese of Brooklyn, 1853-1953, 2 vols (New York, 1954), ii, p. 83. 13. The Catholicism of Italian New Yorkers has received far more attention from historians than that of any other ethnic group. The most important studies are S.M. Tomasi, Piety and Power: The Role of Italian Parishes in the New York Metropolitan Area (New York, 1975); R. Orsi, The Madonna of 115th Street (New Haven, 1985); M.E. Brown, 'Italian Immigrants and the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of New York, 1880-1950 (unpublished Columbia University Ph.D. thesis, 1987).


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about Irish New Yorkers, with some references to the Germans. According to my estimate, about half the Catholics in Greater New York in 1900 were of Irish descent; and the Irish certainly held well over half the positions of leadership. Indeed the unmistakable Irishness of the New York church must have been an important part of its attractiveness to Irish New Yorkers — just as surely as it caused tensions in the church's relationship with some other ethnic groups — most notably the Italians. The aim of this essay will be to evoke the distinctive atmosphere of this remarkable religious culture, and to analyse its characteristics. I shall explore four themes: the nature of the Catholic community; the different roles within it of women and men; the place of the clergy; and the part played by the saints and by miracles.

My recollection of Sacred Heart is a very happy one of my own family, my friends and neighbors. Our lives were centred round Sacred Heart church and one another.14

Images of family and community figure very prominently in memories of the New York parish of this period. Partly this is because it tends to be the highlights that stay in the memory: trips up the Hudson or over to Rockaway Beach; the parish fairs, the plays and concerts — all of which brought family and neighbours together in euphoric celebration and escape from the daily grind. The concentration of neighbours in the church is well illustrated by the Sacred Heart Collectors' Book of 1882. While many houses provided only one contributing household or none at all, there were some staircases on which every other flat, in a tenement of twenty households, contained a contributor to the parish funds. 52nd Street contained by far the largest number of contributors, the densest contribution found between 9th and 10th Avenues. The record was held by 450 West 52nd Street, with thirteen contributing households. To the left, at no. 448, there were eleven, and to the right at 452 there were eight. One can only speculate as to why such large numbers of contributors came from particular houses, though it seems likely that the presence of a few particularly active parishioners in a building helped to draw others in, so that gradually a local public opinion developed which made going to Sacred Heart a taken-for-granted part of the weekly round. In similar style, Dick Butler, a West Side politician, recalled that in the years around 1900 'all the folks from Twentieth Street to Thirtieth Street west of Ninth Avenue attended Guardian Angels church'.15 Elsewhere in his memoirs, Butler notes that he had been regarded with a good deal of disfavour by his intended in-laws, not least because he had been born in England, and that it

14. Questionnaire on history of Sacred Heart parish: reply by Molly Carroll (Sacred Heart Archive). 15. R.J. Butler and J. Driscoll, Dock Walloper: The Story of 'Big Dick' Butler (New York, 1933), p. 42.

The 'Golden Age' of New York City Catholicism


was only the fact that he 'was a right-hander in religion' that saved him.16 This effectively sums up one aspect of the part played by Catholicism in this culture. It meant that a person was 'one of us'. This loyalty to a tight-knit and somewhat introspective community was related to a way of life, in which close ties with neighbours and kin were an essential defence against the dangers and uncertainties of life at the bottom end of the social pile. A widely accepted picture of the later nineteenth-century American city is one of constant mobility.17 So far, at least, as New York is concerned, this is an oversimplification. Tenement-dwellers certainly changed flats frequently, but the moves were often over very short distances.18 Moreover, migration over longer distances often followed stereotyped patterns (for instance, the movement of Germans from the Lower East Side to Yorkville, or later of Irish West Siders to Jackson Heights in Queens), and followed lines already pioneered by friends and kin. The same, of course, is true of the constant infusion of new immigrants from Europe into the New York population: large numbers of them began their life in New York by lodging with relatives, or finding a flat near to someone they had known in Europe; so the fact that the population of any given street was constantly changing was not incompatible with the existence of strong ties between neighbours and of very highly localised patterns of life. Elsa Herzfeld's study of West Side working-class households in the early twentieth century indicated both the well-established local roots of many of these families and the importance of ties of mutual support. Sixteen of the twenty-four women whose conversations with Herzfeld formed the basis of the book had lived either the whole of their life, or all of it since coming to New York, on the West Side of Manhattan; many of them had lived for long periods on the same street.19 There was no automatic sympathy between those living in the same tenement: forced proximity brought bitter feuds as well as friendships. But the feuds and the friendships were two sides of the same coin: the sense of mutual dependence, of support and respect owed, and a consequent feeling of resentment towards those who kept their distance, or who failed at some important moment to do what was hoped for.20 Beyond the local community of equals, patron-client relationships played a big part in New York life, and depended on similar ideas of respect and mutual obligation. This style of politics was embodied above all in Tammany Hall — the dominant force in the city's politics through most of the period

16. Ibid., p. 40. 17. S. Thernstrom, The Other Bostonians (Cambridge, MA., 1973), pp. 38-41. 18. See United States Immigration Commission, Report, 41 vols (Washington, 1911-2), xxvi, pp. 243-44, for data on patterns of mobility among immigrants in New York. 19. E. Herzfeld, Family Monographs (New York, 1905). After 1908 Catholic marriage registers recorded the place of baptism of the persons marrying. In 1910 the Sacred Heart registers showed that 63 per cent of those who had been baptised in the United States received the sacrament at a church on the West Side of Manhattan. 20. Herzfeld, Family Monographs, pp. 33—4.


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from the 1870s to the 1930s.21 It was the willingness of Tammany Hall to put the obligations of 'friendship' before those of abstract morality or the law that earned the condemnation of middle-class advocates of 'good government'; its willingness to take as given the economic system within which its multitude of personal favours was dispensed made it despised by radicals. But in doing this the Hall was reflecting the modes of thought and priorities of large numbers of New York workers, and especially of the Irish.22 The Catholic Church was involved in the system of patronage because so many Democratic politicians were prominent members of Catholic parishes.23 The relationship offered mutual advantages: the politicians protected Catholic interests when necessary in the legislature. On a more regular basis, they provided money for the parish and, equally important, they could provide jobs or other benefits for fellow-parishioners.24 So far as the politicians were concerned, good relations with the Catholic Church could only be beneficial in most parts of New York — though the more cynical clergy suggested that the piety of politicians tended to peak around election times.25 There were important areas of potential conflict here between the obligations of 'friendship' and the requirements of Catholic morality, which attached an absolute value to such principles as honesty. On the other hand, the very strong sense of belonging, and of the priority of obligations to one's own kind, fitted in well with another aspect of the Catholic teaching of the time, namely the overriding stress on loyalty to the church and the strongly negative view of all those outside the church. The clergy frequently insisted on the separation of Catholics, not only from unbelievers, but from other Christians. Monsignor Mooney, pastor at Sacred Heart in the early twentieth century banned his parishioners from swimming at the Y.M.C.A. or boxing at the Hartley House Settlement, warning that these could provide opportunities for Protestant proselytism.26 At St Monica's in 1892, Sunday School teachers had to sit an examination which included such questions as Trove that the Christian religion is the true religion', Trove that the Catholic Church is

21. See S.P. Erie, Rainbow's End: Irish-Americans and the Dilemmas of Urban Machine Politics, 1840-1985 (Berkeley, 1988); M. Shefter, The Electoral Foundations of the New York City Machine, 1884-1897,' in J.H. Silbey et al.,The History of American Electoral Behavior (Princeton, 1978), pp. 263-98; and for a more colourful and anecdotal treatment, N. Glazer and D.P. Moynihan, Beyond the Meltingpot: The Negroes, Puerto Ricans, Jews, Italians, and Irish of New York City (2nd edn, Cambridge, MA, 1970), pp. 221-29. 22. Two contemporaries who provided vivid accounts of the popular roots of the city machine were Mary Simkhovitch, The City Worker's World in America (New York, 1917),p. 182; Hutchins Hapgood, Types from City Streets (New York, 1910), pp. 57-63. See also, of course, Riordon, ed., Plunkitt of Tammary Hall passim. 23. An article headed 'Politics from Priests' in the (admittedly hostile) New York Times, 5 November 1894, provided numerous examples of links between Democratic politicians and Catholic parishes. See also the discussion in Browne, Sacred Heart, pp. 61-71. 24. Ibid., p. 69; Brown, 'Italian Immigrants and the Catholic Church', p. 161. 25. 'After the Elections', Calendar of St Paul the Apostle parish, November 1888 (archive of Paulist Fathers, St Paul's rectory). 26. Browne, Sacred Heart, p. 16.

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the true Church' and 'What is the essential difference between the Catholic and the Protestant religions?'27 At Our Lady of Good Counsel, in the early twentieth century, the pastor, Monsignor James Connolly, one of the most prominent priests in the archdiocese, maintained a constant polemic against Protestants in his parish magazine. In an article of December 1910 attacking 'radical socialism', he managed to hit his two favourite targets at once, claiming that socialists did not oppose Protestantism, because Protestants are not true Christians.28 Very often this powerful sense of Catholic identity took on a more specific colouring. Many New York priests took a close interest in nationalist struggles in Europe, and their churches were used to support the national cause. So far as Irish New Yorkers were concerned, religion and nationalism were in many ways tightly intermeshed, though differences over Irish politics were also one of the major arenas of conflict between the clergy and a section of the laity. Irish issues were most prominent in New York churches in 1879-81, when clergy were strongly involved in organising famine relief and there was very widespread support for the Land League,29 and again in 1919, when there was general support among Irish New Yorkers for the cause of Irish independence. The announcements made at mass at Sacred Heart parish during the year 1919 illustrate the ways in which Catholic parishes identified themselves with the Irish cause. On 12 January parishioners were informed of a mass meeting to be held in the church hall in support of Ireland's claims at the peace conference; on 16 March it was mentioned that a hundred copies of a book by Seamus McManus called 'Ireland's Case' were available from the sexton's office; on 1 June they were told of a mass meeting organised by the Robert Emmett Society, to call for recognition of the Irish Republic; and on 8 June there was a collection for the Irish Victory Fund to be taken in the vestibule after mass — 'Give all you can to this fund'.30 More generally, priests who emphasised their Irish origins, who took an active part in St Patrick's Day celebrations, or who otherwise gave the services at their church an Irish dimension were assured of an enthusiastic response on the part of many of their parishioners.31 Nationality had of course two dimensions. Many New Yorkers continued to take a keen interest in the politics of their country of origin; but equally important, and of more immediate relevance was the struggle against other ethnic groups within New York. And here, too, many priests were fully

27. John McGrath to Archbishop Corrigan, 11 September 1892, St Monica's file (A.N.N.Y.). 28. Parish Monthly of Our Lady of Good Counsel parish, December 1910 (New York Public Library). 29. J.J. Green, 'American Catholics and the Irish Land League, 1879-82', Catholic Historical Review, xxxv (1949), pp. 19-42. 30. Notice-Book (Sacred Heart archive). 31. E.g., Green, 'American Catholics and the Irish Land League', p. 39; Irish World, 25 June 1887; G.A. Kelly, The Story of St Monica's Parish, New York City, 1879-1954 (New York, 1954), pp. 66-67.


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involved. 'Be Proud You're Irish' was the title of an article in St Paul's parish magazine in 1908: admittedly, the main theme was that 'every young Catholic man or woman' should be supporting the cause of Irish freedom, but headlines of this kind can hardly have helped Italian parishioners to feel that they were fully accepted members of the New York Catholic community.32 More serious were the numerous instances of direct conflict between Italian New Yorkers and Irish priests, who regarded them as, to quote Father Reilly of Nativity parish, 'about the worst Catholics that ever came to this country'.33 There was a long phase in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries characterised by what was called the 'duplex parish', where special services for Italians in a predominantly Irish parish would be provided, often in the church basement. The Italians were frequently resented both by the clergy and by the laity. The former objected to the irregularity of their church attendance, the smallness of their financial contributions, and the allegedly pagan nature of those saint's day celebrations which the Italians did enthusiastically support;34 the latter feared the Italians as rivals in the job-market, who would accept lower wages and sometimes acted as strike-breakers.35 A Philadelphia historian, who interviewed elderly Italian immigrants, recorded many bitter memories of 'intemperate outbursts' by 'choleric priests who literally castigated Italians from the pulpit'; an Italian priest recalled the 'chilling hostility of Irish priests' in his first American parish.36 Similarly, in 1921 the pastor of St Ann's apologised to the archbishop for the poor response from his parish to various diocesan collections. His parishioners preferred to give to specifically Irish causes, and 'Indians, Negroes and Italians are not popular in these parts'.37 So far as priests were concerned, an attitude that was certainly parochial, and could be ethnocentric, was encouraged by the fact that each parish was effectively on its own in the struggle for survival. New parishes were continually being formed to meet the needs of the headlong growth in population, and older parishes were continually having to expand their provision by building bigger churches, schools and parish halls, and employing more priests and nuns. The happy end result of all these efforts could be the 'burning mortgage' cited by Kelly. But there often were many headaches and heartaches on the way, as pastors desperately tried to raise the necessary cash. Not surprisingly, some priests came to be remembered chiefly for their

32. Calendar of parish of St Paul the Apostle, March 1908. 33. Tomasi, Piety and Power, p. 45. 34. R.M. Linkh, American Catholicism and European Immigrants, 1900-1924 (New York, 1975), pp. 39-44. 35. R.H. Bayor, Neighbors in Conflict: The Irish, Germans, Jews, and Italians of New York City, 1929-1941 (Baltimore, 1978), pp. 4, 22; Orsi, The Madonna of 115th Street, pp. 16-17. 36. R.A. Varbero, 'Philadelphia's South Italians and the Irish Church: A History of Cultural Conflict', in S.M. Tomasi (ed.), The Religious Experience of Italian Americans (New York, 1975), p. 35. 37. H.J. Browne, St Ann's on East 12th Street, New York City, 1852-1952 (New York, 1952), p. 41.

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constant appeals for money and boundary disputes frequently broke out, as two parishes laid claim to a lucrative patch. Irish parishioners were particularly sought after,38 as they were reckoned to be better payers than Catholics of other nationalities — a theory which gains some support from research I have done on the financial records of parishes of different ethnic complexions. On the West Side of Manhattan, the formation of the new parish of St Raphael's in 1886, carved out of the old parishes of Holy Cross and St Michael's, led to a long battle between the clergy of Holy Cross and those of the new parish. The story began with what the pastor of Holy Cross termed an 'invasion' of his parish by collectors for the new church. It culminated in 1900 with a fight over the right to bury a Mrs O'Brien, who had already been anointed by priests from both parishes, having been a pew-holder at Holy Cross for thirty years, but last living in St Raphael's parish.39 When, in 1893, the Redemptorists were allowed to establish the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn, they commented that 'Naturally enough the neighbouring pastors had no welcome for us. Our greatest opponent was Father Loftus of Bay Ridge, who was just erecting a $35,000 church, and complained that the work could not be continued, that he would have to starve etc etc.'40

Mom was a great Catholic. The Pope of Rome never had a more devout follower than my mother. Religion was everything in the world to her. I can almost see her now bending over the wash-tub, sweating blood so that she could feed and clothe us. At thirty-one she was old from work and worry. The day in and day out grind broke her, but she smiled and plugged along like a martyr. Regardless of how tough the going was Mom always said: 'It might be worse, everything that happens happens for the best.' She was an optimist who believed that 'one could always find a sorrow in life over which to be happy'. 'It's God's will', she would say, 'God's will be done!' I've seen her go to church when she could hardly walk. I've seen her give money to the church when there wasn't food in the joint to feed a canary. Whenever I complained that I didn't want to go to church because I was either poorly shod or poorly dressed, she would come back at me with: 'God don't look at your shoes and your clothes, son, he only looks at your soul.'41

The scene is Boston, c. 1900, though it might just as easily have been New York. The author, Jack Callahan, decided to escape poverty by becoming a

38. Father Henn to Archbishop Corrigan, 14 August 1889, Our Lady of Perpetual Help file; Father Otterbein to Archbishop Corrigan, February 1899, Immaculate Conception, Bronx, file (A.A.N.Y.). For similar issues in an earlier period, see J. Dolan, The Immigrant Church: New York's Irish and German Catholics, 1815-1865 (Baltimore, 1975), pp. 93-98. 39. Father McCready to Archbishop Corrigan, 5 April and 1 November 1893; Father McCready to Father Cummins, 1 November 1900; Holy Cross file (A.N.N.Y.). 40. Chronicles of the Parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Brooklyn, i, p. 4 (Archives of the Redemptorist Fathers [A.R.F.], Baltimore Province, Shore Road, Brooklyn). 41. J. Callahan, Man's Grim Justice (New York, 1928), pp. 2-3.


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professional criminal, and thus achieved the notoriety that justified his writing his memoirs. The quotation can be analysed in several different ways, but the point I want to note here is that it was Mom, and not Dad, who was the great Catholic. Dad, after doing his best to set Jack on the wrong track, passed out of the story at an early stage as a result of being shot dead by a policeman. Women had a crucial role in the New York Catholicism of the time. At first sight, it was the predominance of males that would strike the untutored observer. If you entered a church, a male usher would show you to your seat, and the service would be conducted entirely by a team of male priests, assisted by young male altar-servers. However, a glance at the congregation would usually establish that women predominated in numbers, if not in the prominence of the roles that they performed. According to the Manhattan church census of 1902, no less than 73 per cent of the adults attending Catholic services were women, whereas the Protestant average was 60 per cent.42 And the further behind the scenes one went, the more it became apparent that the working of the Catholic church in New York depended on the efforts of women. Most obviously there were the nuns who staffed the city's numerous Catholic schools, hospitals and orphanages.43 But equally important was the part played by devout laywomen. Some parishes owed their survival to teams of women collectors, who went from door to door urging parishioners to give to the church.44 Those unfortunate Catholics who were confined to the islands in the East River, which housed the city workhouse and a variety of prisons, reformatories and hospitals, were cheered by visits from teams of young women belonging to sodalities attached to city parishes.45 Most important of all was the role of mothers in passing on the faith to the next generation. In a typical reminiscence, Willie Sutton, born in Brooklyn's Irishtown in 1901, recalls that his mother 'filled the house with religious paintings and artifacts and was always stuffing rosary beads and religious medals into my pockets'. He adds 'We were regular churchgoers' — the implication being that the children were not given much choice. Sutton himself left the church, as soon as he got out of reach of his mother, and became a famous bank robber; on the other hand, his two siblings remained law-abiding citizens and faithful Catholics, so the mother's efforts were not all in vain.46

42. For discussion of the figures and a detailed denominational breakdown, see H. McLeod, 'Weibliche Frommigkeit — mannlicher Unglaube?' in U. Frevert (ed.), Biirgerinnen und Burger (Gottingen, 1988), pp. 134-56. 43. J.P. Dolan, The American Catholic Experience (New York, 1985), pp. 289-90, discusses the key role of nuns in the church of this period — and the shabby treatment they often received from bishops and pastors. See also Diner, Erin's Daughters pp. 130-38. 44. Church bulletin of St Ignatius Loyola parish, March 1910, lists the collectors for the School Debt Association, of whom the great majority were women (parish archive). 45. Interviews with Caroline Kolb at her New York City home, 21 November and 5 December 1983; list of parish organisations in Yearbook and Custom Book of the Parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, Washington Heights (New York, 1916). 46. Dolan, American Catholic Experience, pp. 252-53; W. Sutton, Where the Money Was (New York, 1976), p. 16.

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The divergence between female piety and the more ambivalent male attitude to the church began in the teenage years. A survey around 1900 suggested that up to the age of fourteen, girls and boys attended church with equal frequency, but then a gap began to open up.47 There are signs that even where boys and young men went to mass in considerable numbers, they had a relatively detached attitude to what was going on. In 1901 the pastor of Holy Name on the Upper West Side complained that 'as in every other church the young men and working boys will persist in standing just within the doors thus blocking up the doors, instead of coming up to the front where sufficient seats are available'.48 Men went to church more frequently after marriage — though there still were many who left religious matters entirely to the care of their wives. However, there is little sign among Irish Catholic men in New York of the anti-clerical or anti-religious feeling that was found to some extent among their German and Italian neighbours, and which was so widespread among working men in parts of Europe.49 Indeed, where Irish New Yorkers stood out was in the relative strength of various forms of male piety standing alongside the more widespread and more familiar female piety. If domestic religion was the concern of Catholic women, Catholic men had the responsibility for upholding Catholic interests and making the Catholic presence felt in the public sphere. The chief organisations of Catholic laymen were the Holy Name societies, which were attached to many parishes, and also to such Irish strongholds as the Post Office and the Police. They provided ushers at services and organised parish entertainments, and they also specialised in marching through the streets with flags flying, and forming guards of honour for the clergy on special occasions, such as the opening of new churches. Also very widespread were the Knights of Columbus, a specifically Catholic rival to the numerous lodges, which were condemned by the church but very popular with immigrant men.50 At the same time, more specialised organisations were being formed to gather together distinctive sections of the Catholic male population. A notable example was the Catholic Club, which developed out of a parish organisation at the Jesuit church of St Francis Xavier, and became the principal meeting-place for wealthy Catholics. It assumed some importance during the controversy between Archbishop Corrigan and Father Edward McGlynn, which split the

47. Federation of Churches and Christian Workers in New York City, Third Sociological Canvass (New York, 1900). 48. Father Kean to Archbishop Corrigan, 4 June 1901, Holy Name file (A.N.N.Y.). 49. S. Nadel, Little Germany: Ethnicity, Religion and Class in New York City, 1845-80 (Urbana, IL 1990), pp. 90-103, for relative weakness of churches in German areas of the city; the classic discussion of Italian immigrant anti-clericalism is R.J. Vecoli, 'Prelates and Peasants: Italian Immigrants and the Catholic church', Journal of Social History, ii (1969), pp. 217-68 though in the light of more recent research, by such historians as Tomasi, Orsi and Vecoli himself, a more nuanced picture is now possible. 50. Dolan, American Catholic Experience, p. 257; C. McDannell, '"True Men as We Need Them": Catholicism and the Irish-American Male', American Studies, xxvii (1986), pp. 23-25.


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diocese in two during the years 1887-92. Members formed themselves into a Corrigan fan club and egged on the archbishop to take an uncompromising line.51 They provided great encouragement to those who wanted to convince themselves that Catholics could make it. During the archdiocesan jubilee celebrations in 1908, the chronicler from Most Holy Redeemer parish was particularly impressed by the sight of 500 frock-coated Club members: 'Marching with the Club were many of New York's most eminent citizens, including Supreme Court Justices, lawyers, doctors, merchants, in a word, men of might in the professional and business world.'52

If the priest be a man of sympathy and ability, he becomes an object of admiration. Indeed he may share a place with the other idols of the people — the successful athlete and the influential politician.53

No account of the New York parish during his period would get very far without some discussion of this other kind of 'man of might', the parish priest. Yet, as this quotation suggests it is not always easy to determine what the role of the clergy was. The Columbia sociologist was referring specifically to the Irish, and it must be clear at the outset that the place of the clergy within New York's various ethnic communities varied radically. Here I shall mainly be referring to the clergy of predominantly Irish parishes, though with some references to the Germans. The comparison with politicians emphasises the fact that many priests of this period were men of power, and that everything associated with them was big. This aspect of New York Catholicism perhaps reached its highest point in the 1920s, when the archbishop's Madison Avenue residence was popularly known as 'The Powerhouse'.54 By then the days of struggle were over. Cardinal Hayes presided over a vast network of Catholic institutions, designed to ensure that a Catholic need never seek for education or care from a Protestant or secular agency.55 In many parts of the city the Catholic church was the dominant building, and a formidable monsignor maintained a similarly dominating presence within his parish.56

51. R.E. Curran, Michael Augustine Corrigan and the Shaping of Conservative Catholicism in America (New York, 1978), pp. 313-15, 392-93, 403, 478. 52. Chronicles of the parish of the Most Holy Redeemer, iii, p. 8 (A.R.F.). 53. H.B. Woolston, A Study of The Population of Manhattanville (New York 1909), pp. 61-62. 54. Kelly, The Parish, p. 90. 55. Brown, 'Italian Immigrants and the Catholic Church', pp. 294-303. 56. For a critical discussion of this dominance, see J.J. Bukowczyk, 'Steeples and Smokestacks: Class, Religion and Ideology in the Polish Immigrant Settlements of Greenpoint and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 1880-1929' (unpublished Harvard University Ph.D. thesis, 1980). He describes St Stanislaus Kostka parish (pp. 216-17) as the biggest Polish-owned business in Greenpoint, and terms the controversial Lithuanian Father Judisius 'the 200 Ib pistol-packing reverend' (pp. 70-77).

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St Charles Borromeo in Harlem, as described by its historian, Father Hugh Corrigan, might be taken as representative of this era and this style of Catholicism: a mainly Irish and working-class congregation, held together by 'exceptionally strong' 'bonds of loyalty and affection', a 'cathedral-like' church, and an all-powerful pastor, Monsignor Wall — 'He was their pastor and could do no wrong. Autocratic in his ways he was feared and respected by all.'57 Father Corrigan, recalling his own childhood in the Bronx in the 1930s, told me that the priests were the most prestigious figures in the community, and that their words carried great weight; some of them had a lordly air — and their people would often be proud of their lordliness.58 Henry J. Browne, who gives a similar account of Monsignor Joseph Mooney, pastor of Sacred Heart from 1890 to 1923, offers a hint as to why this was. Mooney only mixed readily with the elite of the parish, and in ten years the only wedding he conducted was that of the son of the local Tammany leader. But 'The parishioners' self-image seemed to improve as they viewed their pastor as a man of church power, a man who could be called upon in 1918 to administer the archdiocese in the interim between John Cardinal Farley's death and Patrick Hayes' appointment as archbishop.' Browne also comments that 'Mooney enjoyed a certain fame, not uncommonly cultivated by nineteenth-century churchmen, as the pastor who had supposedly turned down several offers of bishoprics' — and we may assume that his parishioners enjoyed these rumours as much as he did.59 Nor did the vicarious pleasure afforded by the power and dignity of the clergy apply only at the parochial level: it was essential to the whole relationship between Irish New Yorkers and their clergy that priests were seen as representative figures whose achievements and qualities reflected on the whole Irish-American community. Particularly telling is the absence of any Irish tradition of jokes about clerical sex-lives, of the kind that were so common among, for instance, Italian New Yorkers. The Irish were not averse to mildly deflating the pretensions of their clergy by telling jokes about them or giving them nicknames — but they did not question their priests' integrity. To question their celibacy seemed to be a way of undermining their whole identity as priests.60 Besides these overtly formidable pastors and prelates there were other kinds of priest, who enjoyed a prestige of a different kind, and were often more popular. The comparison between the popular priest and a 'successful athlete' was particularly apposite in the early twentieth century, when the need to strengthen the church's appeal to young men and boys was leading to the emergence of a new type of priest, noted for skill in running gyms and 57. H.F. Corrigan, St Charles Borromeo: The History of a Catholic Church in Harlem (Hackensack, NY, 1973), pp. 13-18. 58. Interview with Father Hugh Corrigan, Cathedral College, Douglaston, 21 April 1980. 59. Browne, Sacred Heart, pp. 16-17. 60. For examples of Italian and Irish styles of jokes about priests, see Orsi, The Madonna of 115th Street, pp. 83-84, and H. McLeod, 'Catholicism and the New York Irish', in J. Obelkevich et al, Disciplines of Faith (London, 1987), pp. 341-42.


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summer camps, a fervent interest in boxing and basketball, and sometimes a reputation for being handy with his own fists. The most famous example was Francis Duffy, who gained his original reputation as chaplain of the 'Fighting 69th' regiment in the First World War; from 1920-32 he was pastor of Holy Cross on 42nd Street. He was strategically placed for visits up to the theatre district, where he was said to be friendly with many prominent actors and movie stars, and down to Madison Square Garden, where he was typically seen in the company of world heavyweight champion, Gene Tunney. One local, interviewed fifty years later by an oral historian, described Duffy as 'a publicity-hound', while another claimed that he was 'a great man' with 'that magical quality'.61 Priests of this kind provided the inspiration for such Hollywood films of the 1930s as Angels with Dirty Faces, in which a tough-guy priest, played by Pat O'Brien, led the fight against the forces of evil, personified by James Cagney. The Duffy legend concentrates on his role as a public figure rather than as a parish priest. But many of his contemporaries exercised their sporting passions for the benefit of their parishioners. Monsignor Kenny, pastor of St Monica's from 1913 to 1943, 'gave the parish programme an athletic orientation'. He himself liked playing handball with other priests, and 'would engage in playful boxing with some of the young men of the parish'. Father Cunningham, who joined the parish in 1915, was most famous for his pioneering girls' basketball team.62 At St Paul's in 1908 an article in the parish magazine was still complaining about the excessive interest of young men of the parish in baseball and boxing and their lack of intellectual concerns; but by 1911 the magazine itself was devoting a major part of its space to the parish basketball and athletics teams. A third type of powerful priest exercised an influence of a rarer and more elusive kind: this was the priest with a reputation for holiness; very often he was an assistant, since he might lack the financial skills demanded of the pastor — and indeed his relative obscurity, and his concentration on the more distinctively priestly aspects of his vocation, might be an important element in his charisma. A notable example would be Father Preis, assistant at the German Redemptorist parish of Most Holy Redeemer from 1866 to 1894. In 1885, the parish chronicle noted how: 'Every Wednesday afternoon, crowds of people come to receive the instructions and blessings of R.P. Preis, to pray and go to confession, and then to buy articles of devotion and give alms.'63 After his death, Preis became the object of a local cult and miracles were attributed to him.64 Reputations for holiness were made above all in the confessional, 61. R. O'Connor, Hell's Kitchen (Philadelphia, 1958), pp. 201-12; J. Kisseloff, You Must Remember This (New York, 1989), pp. 578-80. 62. Kelly, St Monica's, pp. 53-58, 66-67. 63. Chronicles of the parish of the Most Holy Redeemer, i, pp. 312-13 (A.R.F.). On this subject I have found an article by Gerard Connolly on Manchester very helpful: 'Little Brother Be at Peace: The Priest as Holy Man in the Nineteenth-Century Ghetto', W.J. Sheils, ed., The Church and Healing, Studies in Church History, xix (Oxford, 1982), pp. 191-206. 64. Chronicles of the parish of the Most Holy Redeemer, ii, pp. 68-9 (A.R.F.).

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and it is interesting to note that the most famous and controversial priest of this era, Father Edward McGlynn, was also regarded as a devoted confessor. McGlynn was best known for his political radicalism, and it was that which brought him into collision with Archbishop Corrigan. McGlynn proved a formidable opponent, not only because of the popularity of his politics, but equally importantly because of his reputation as a model parish priest — which meant particularly his work in the confessional, but also his care for the poor, and the interest he took in the decoration of the church and the quality of the music.65 These were all priests who were for one reason or another exceptional. What sort of qualities were valued in a more average parish priest? The only extended statement on this subject that I have seen by a group of laypeople is a petition of 1928 by the parishioners of St Mary Magdalene, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It was originally a German parish, but by that time it seems to have achieved an unusual degree of ethnic mixing, with Germans and Irish fairly evenly balanced, and a smaller number of parishioners with Italian or Slavic surnames. They were asking the archbishop (unsuccessfully, as it turned out) for the continuing assignment of Father Rigo, a young priest who had been administering the parish while the pastor was incapacitated.66 Clearly the petition was directed at a specific audience, and may have stressed points which were of secondary importance to the petitioners but were likely to impress the archbishop. Nonetheless, a number of the points made also emerge as significant in other sources, such as interviews with elderly New York Catholics or the comments made in the Redemptorist Chronicles about the popularity or unpopularity of various of their own number. The first argument for Rigo was that he was 'one of our own boys', and it is clear that for many Catholics the vocations arising in their own parish were a subject of special pride. For instance Caroline Kolb, who was born in Yorkville in 1895 and remained all her life a member of St Joseph's German parish, cited the number of vocations arising in her parish as a test of the parish's quality, and she remembered events connected with priests and seminarians as the highlights of her parish life. When one seminarian left for six year's study in Rome, she organised a special celebration with pictures of the boat he would travel on, and the flag of the parish mixed with that of the Vatican. Rigo's parishioners may thus have been predisposed to think well of him. But the essence of his popularity seems to be that he succeeded in the difficult balancing-act of being a leader without becoming a tyrant, and of exercising authority without losing his human sympathy. Caroline Kolb had known a 65. See H. McLeod, 'Edward McGlynn', in S. Mews, ed., Modern Religious Rebels (London, 1993). The best account of the 'McGlynn Affair' is in Curran, Michael Augustine Corrigan. 66. St Mary Magdalene file (A.A.N.Y.).


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lot of priests in her eighty-eight years and thought highly of most of them; but the one who came nearest to realising her ideal was Father Ostermann, who was an assistant in the period around the First World War. Apart from the necessary qualities of being Very nice' and Very spiritual', which would seem to correspond to Father Rigo's 'courteous kindly and holy conduct', he stood out by virtue of 'having ideas', which meant that he was willing to take the initiative in, for instance, founding new parish organisations and, having founded them, giving them a sense of direction. He was not seen as a dictator, for he worked in close concert with a group of lay leaders, though it should be noted that they were all nominated by him.67 Father Rigo's efforts in founding new sodalities, reviving old services and improving the fabric of the parish buildings would seem to reflect the required qualities of leadership, though the emphasis on his courtesy would seem to imply that he did not do this in too heavy-handed a way. The stress on Rigo's 'kindness' and 'courtesy' is echoed strongly in the memories of elderly parishioners of Sacred Heart, where it is the 'human' qualities of the clergy, to quote an approving reference to Father Scully, a priest there through most of the inter-war period, which receive the strongest praise. In this respect, Scully, who seems to have been loved, contrasted with his predecessor, Monsignor Mooney, who was respected and feared.68 While the status of the clergy among Irish New Yorkers was higher than within most other ethnic groups, there were still areas of tension between the clergy and significant sections of the laity, and to a large extent the conflicts arose over the same kind of issue: politics and trade unions; the running of parochial organisations; membership of organisations condemned by the church; and the relative merits of public schools and parochial schools. Political tensions between the clergy and many of their Irish parishioners reached a high point in the 1870s and 1880s, as a result of the combined impact of events in Ireland, the upsurge of labour militancy, and the brief attempt in 1886 to form a Labour Party;69 but as Tammany Hall came increasingly to dominate New York politics the tensions subsided, though there was some revival in the 1920s and '30s, as many Irish republican refugees settled in New York, and some of them got involved in the Communist Party.70 Conflicts between allegedly interfering clergy and Holy Name societies or other parish organisations, erupted periodically, but with little long-term

67. Interview with Caroline Kolb. 68. Browne, Sacred Heart, p. 17. 69. T.N. Brown, Irish-American Nationalism, 1870-1890 (Philadelphia, 1966), pp. 34-41, 122; M. Gordon, 'Studies in Irish and Irish-American Thought and Behavior in Gilded Age New York City' (unpublished University of Rochester Ph.D. thesis, 1977), pp. 133-35, 333-33; E. Foner, 'Class, Ethnicity, and Radicalism in the Gilded Age: The Land League and Irish-American', Marxist Perspectives, i (1978), pp. 6-55. 70. J. Freeman, 'Catholics, Communists and Republicans: Irish Workers and the Organisation of the Transport Workers' Union', in M.H. Frisch and D.J. Walkowitz, ed., Working Class America (Urbana, IL, 1983), pp. 256-83.

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effect. The battle over education in contrast, continued over many generations, and remains an issue up to the present day. Admittedly it was complicated by the fact that some clergy, of whom the most outspoken was Edward McGlynn, did not believe in parochial schools, and did their best to avoid building them. From 1884 it was the official policy of the American Church that every parish should have its own school; many pastors not only complied with the order but did their best to harass those parents who failed to make use of the facilities.71 Yet the rebels were very numerous. According to figures published by the Immigration Commission in 1911 the great majority of children of immigrant families in New York were attending public schools. Even among those with Irish Catholic fathers, only about half were attending parochial school. Similar proportions were achieved by German and Polish Catholic immigrants. These figures were, however, far higher than those for children of Italian immigrants, among whom no more than 14 per cent went to Catholic schools. Even at that stage there were a few New York parishes which did not have a school, and there may have been others where the school was too small. But it is clear from pastors' comments that many parents deliberately chose to send their children to public school. Some parents welcomed the existence of both kinds of school, as it enabled them to play one lot of teachers off against the other lot: children were quite often moved from one to the other following disputes. Others were attracted by superior facilities in the public school, or rejected what they saw as an overemphasis on religion in parochial schools. The fact that there were large numbers of Catholics teaching in public schools made it hard to believe that they were the 'nurseries of unbelief that some of the more hysterical preachers alleged.72

Sacred Heart has been and always will be a place of refuge for me. I draw whatever strength I need from it — it isn't just a place of worship, it's Sacred Heart — full of wonder, hope, faith, mystery and yes, miracles!73

Catherine Yelenock did not define what she meant by a miracle. Her one example suggested that she may have had quite a broad interpretation of the term: she mentioned as 'a miracle in itself that 'the church is now opened all day'. But anyone reading the records of New York parishes in the years around 1900 cannot help but be struck by the frequency with which miracles in the conventional understanding of the term are recorded. For instance, the Redemptorist fathers at Immaculate Conception parish in the Bronx, after reviewing the progress of their parish in the year 1891, concluded as follows: 71. Dolan, American Catholic Experience, pp. 270-78. 72. Immigration Commission, Report, xxxii, p. 619; parish reports, 1923 (Archive of the Diocese of Brooklyn); Sutton, op.cit., p. 20; memo by Father Gregg dated 1891, St Augustine's file; Father Schneider-?, 17 March 1913, St Alphonsus file; diary of Richard Burtsell, 7 October 1888 (A.A.N.Y.). 73. Questionnaire on the history of Sacred Heart parish: reply by Catherine Yelenock.


Revival and Religion since 1700

Another special feature of this past year are the wonderful events that occurred in the spiritual as well as in the material order. Obstinate sinners have been converted and reclaimed from their evil ways through a little picture or medal of Our Lady of Perpetual Help which was placed in their clothing and in one instance in the room where the person slept. One lady was to be operated on. The previous afternoon a Father applied a little water of Lourdes and during that night the tumor burst and she was spared the danger of the impending operation. Large numbers of sick and infirm . . . come to the church every Sunday afternoon from near and far to have themselves blessed with the holy relic. And in truth the confidence and faith of very many is rewarded by Almighty God.74

The best-known of New York's many places of miracles was St John the Baptist church on Manhattan's Upper East Side, which was famous for its relic of St Anne. The story of this shrine began in 1892 when a Canadian priest, who had received a relic of St Anne as a gift from Pope Leo XIII, stopped over in New York on his way back to Quebec. The French Blessed Sacrament fathers, who staffed the church, prevailed on him to allow the relic to be exposed for veneration during vespers: In the interval between Mass and Vespers word spread that the relic was to be exposed, and that afternoon the church was packed to the doors. Eager crowds thronged the little structure long after the usual hour, and throughout the three days following an unending stream of ill and needy petitioners came to the then quiet and out-of-the-way church.

The crowds continued for three weeks, until the relic was taken on to Quebec. Some months later the Blessed Sacrament fathers acquired their own relic, which was applied after morning and evening services on the nine Tuesdays preceding the feast of St Anne.75 The only account that I have seen of a healing at the church comes from Herzfeld's book on West Side working-class life, which presents a visit to St John the Baptist church rather as a routine event in the life of any Catholic New Yorker suffering chronic sickness. Noting that in the eyes of the local people 'Relics of the Saints, of the Cross and mantles worn by them all have healing power', she gave one example of an Irish family, long-settled in New York: The grandmother of a child whose right side was paralysed took her to the Church of John the Baptist . . . she laid her in the pew, the priest placed the relics of St Anne on her as she slept, then he prayed. When she awoke she was cured. She walked to the elevated station. Anne had heard the prayer and the child prays to Anne daily.76 74. Chronicles of Immaculate Conception, Bronx, parish, 31 December 1891 (A.R.F.). 75. R.L. and H.F. Woods, Pilgrim Places in North America.: A Guide to Catholic Shrines (New York, 1939), pp. 108-9. 76. Herzfeld, Family Monographs, p. 19.

The 'Golden Age' of New York City Catholicism


This was one of the few happy episodes in the history of disasters that afflicted the family. Herzfeld's account presents some of the context within which the hope for miracles arose. First, illness and accident played a central part in the lives of many West Side families. A demographic study of New York and Brooklyn in 1889-90 had shown that New York's white death rate of 26.3 per 1000 was the second worst of all American cities, and that at most ages, those of Irish stock were the most vulnerable.77 The main reason for this was simply poverty, but an added factor was the concentration of the Irish in dangerous occupations, such as building and dock-work. Second, poor West Siders tended to have bad experiences of doctors, who charged fees that they could not afford, and of hospitals — which were suspected of experimenting on poor patients.78 Third, the expectation of miracles was part of a wider set of assumptions, within which association with the holy was believed to promote material well-being, while neglect of religious rites could bring harm. The clearest examples of this are provided by the numerous beliefs associated with the ceremony of christening, in which concern for the child's soul went together with worries about its health and its prospects in life more generally. As the parents looked with mingled hope and anxiety at their newly-born child, they were very conscious that one wrong move could mean disaster. So far as Catholics were concerned, one of the first essentials was to ensure that the child was baptised quickly: the family mentioned above, whose paralysed daughter was cured, blamed the poor growth of a son on the fact that they had waited two weeks before having him christened; in another family described by Herzfeld the mother christened the baby herself, when it died very shortly after being born. Both Catholics and Protestants took care to ensure that various luck-bringing rituals were performed before the ceremony, and that occurrences held to bring bad luck were avoided. Examples of beliefs current in the district were that the child should not be given a name before the christening, that it should not be given the name of a dead relative, that it should be carried through the house immediately before the journey to the church, that it should not wear a borrowed christening robe, that they must not pass a funeral on the way to the church, and that the baby must cry during the ceremony.79 This was part of a wider complex of beliefs about the supernatural, which included elements that were not specifically religious. For instance, West Siders had a variety of means of foretelling the future and, in particular, they believed in the prophetic power of dreams; they also had numerous beliefs about good and bad luck, some of which related directly to the holy, some of which, such as the various beliefs associated with Friday, were probably of

77. J.S. Billings, The Vital Statistics of New York and Brooklyn (Washington, 1893), pp. 3, 9, 22, 51. 78. Herzfeld, Family Monographs, p. 30. 79. Ibid., pp. 20-1, 65.


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religious origins, and some of which, such as the belief that it is unlucky to comb one's hair after dark, had no apparent religious significance.80 The visit to a shrine may sometimes have been an isolated event in the life of a sufferer who had tried everything else, and was now venturing one final throw. But it was often part of a long-term relationship with a favourite saint, which had a warmly personal colouring, and went beyond the quest for specific favours. Catholic New Yorkers lived surrounded by their saints. According to Herzfeld: In the Irish Catholic home the colored religious print is always found. 'The Infant Jesus', 'The Mother and the Child', The Childhood of Saint Bernard', 'Saint Anthony's Temptation' (a copy of the famous original) are placed on the wall . . . In every Catholic home there are crucifixes either of light wood, black ebony, enamelled or white glass. There are frequently china figures representing the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child, colored in bright reds and blues with golden halos.81

Admittedly the crucifixes could easily get lost on the tightly-packed walls. '"Everybody" has chromos of grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, brothers' wives, sisters' husbands, etc.' Equally numerous were the pictures of 'animals, sunsets, moonlight landscapes, mountains and rivers'. At first sight this higgledy-piggledy confusion of 'sacred' and 'secular' might seem incongruous. Yet, from the point of view of the people themselves, the saints might be seen as another part of the extended family. Most of the scenes from saints' lives that were depicted fitted in readily with their preference for art which portrayed 'sentimental or heroic subjects'. Most incongruous of all might seem the juxtaposition between a brewery calendar and a picture of a child praying — yet it reflected very clearly the fact that the sacred belonged with the most humdrum realities of everyday life.82 The relationship of New Yorkers with their saints has been explored with special vividness by Robert Orsi, in his study of the cult of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Italian East Harlem. Playing down the role of physical healing in the cult, Orsi argues that the Madonna had the wider role of bringing 'peace and wholeness' to Italian-American families. Stressing the intimacy of the relationship between Italians and their saints, he notes that in Italian Harlem, the people wrote letters directly to the Madonna and spoke familiarly and colloquially of their closeness to her.83 The cult of Our Lady of Mount Carmel began as a purely lay affair at a time when there were few Italian priests in New York. Even in the case of the devotion to St Anne at St John the Baptist church, as described above, 80. Ibid., pp. 18-19; articles on 'Superstition' in Calendar of the parish of St Paul the Apostle, September 1898. 81. Herzfeld, Family Monographs, pp. 14-16. 82. Ibid., p. 46. 83. Orsi, The Madonna of 115th Street, pp. 171-78.

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spontaneous popular interest seems to have played a crucial part in getting the devotion off the ground. So devotion to the saints among Catholic New Yorkers was to some extent independent of the clergy and could flourish even in milieux where anti-clericalism was widespread and religious practice low. In this respect it offers a partial exception to the standard picture of a church dominated by the clergy. However, one should not overlook the crucial entrepreneurial role of the clergy in the origins and subsequent development of some devotions. For instance, the position of St John the Baptist church was challenged from 1915 by the introduction of a novena in honour of St Anne at the church on the Lower East Side which was dedicated to her. Here the key figure was an assistant priest of the parish, Father Southwick, described by Henry J. Browne as 'a hustler', who, with the aid of his own relic, indulgences granted by the pope, and extensive advertising in the press, attracted huge congregations. By 1923 he had also solved the parish's longstanding financial problems.84 Like any other 'golden age' myth, the story of New York Catholicism's 'golden age' at the beginning of this century points to some important truths but also obscures other less congenial aspects of the situation. In particular, it obscures the fact that, although their Catholic faith helped many immigrants to cope with their poverty, the appalling living and working conditions suffered by many Catholic immigrants could also be a fruitful source of religious alienation. Nor did priests at the time always have as rosy a view of the situation as those looking back from a distance of fifty or more years. New York priests of the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were all too conscious of the effects of poverty on the lives of their parishioners, and of the counter-attractions offered by the saloon sub-culture, not to mention the unrivalled opportunities for crime and vice that the city offered.85 They themselves were frequently preoccupied with money problems, as they struggled to pay for the plant and the personnel that their parishes needed; and there were periodic warnings that large numbers of Catholic immigrants were losing touch with the church, as the efforts to meet these needs were proceeding too slowly. Also, the kinds of class conflict that were a major source of alienation from the churches of Europe were not entirely absent in New York. The picture of a Catholic 'community' drawn from all classes, though partly true, is over-cosy.86 84. Browne, St Ann's, pp. 41-2. 85. McLeod, 'New York Irish,' pp. 343-44. An effective antidote to romanticised versions of later nineteenth-century New York is provided by the chronicles of the parish of the Most Holy Redeemer, which offer a predominantly gloomy view, with considerable stress on poverty and crime, as well as on irreligion. In 1885 they noted that all sacred vessels had to be locked away because of the number of thefts from churches, and in 1893 detectives were mingling with the congregation at mass, in order to catch pickpockets. Ibid., p. 337, p. 17. 86. For discussions of class conflict in New York, see Nadel, Little Germany, pp. 153-54; Gordon, 'Studies in Irish and Irish-American Thought'; M. Dubofsky, When Workers Organize (Amherst, 1968).


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Inevitably, the 'golden age' myth is partly a product of present anxieties. In George Kelly's case, disillusionment with developments in the church since Vatican II have certainly coloured his glowing portrayal of the pre-World War I parish. More generally, dismay at the present state of the American metropolis has led New Yorkers of all classes, colours and faiths, to romanticise the city's past. Yet when all necessary qualifications are made, it is nonetheless true that, by the standards of the other world cities of the time, New York Catholicism enjoyed a depth of popular support that was remarkable. The church attendance rate of 50 per cent for adult Catholics on the day of the Manhattan census in 1902 should be compared with the rates of 26 per cent for New York Protestants, and 22 per cent for Londoners of all denominations, with the 15 per cent of Parisian Catholics who regularly attended mass in the period 1909-14, and with the 1 per cent of the members of the Protestant state church in Berlin who went to church on a Sunday in 1913.87 Catholic New Yorkers thus stood at one extreme of the spectrum of metropolitan religious practice. Particularly notable is the fact that there is relatively little sign of the mass working-class alienation from the church that happened so frequently in Europe at this time. There is no simple explanation for the difference, but at least three kinds of factor have to be taken into consideration.88 The first arises from New York's character as a city of immigrants. Class antagonisms were certainly not absent in New York; but they were modified by the importance of ethnic ties. This situation was reflected in a distinctive type of politics: while attempts to form class-based parties had some short-lived successes, New York politics were generally dominated by the Democrats, an alliance of voters from a variety of social and ethnic backgrounds, with Irish Catholics in a key role. In these circumstances, New York churches, while often ethnically homogeneous, tended to be more socially mixed than their counterparts in Europe, where the depth of class antagonism made it difficult for those of different classes to worship together. A second kind of factor is the ethnic composition of New York Catholicism. Immigrants to the United States in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries varied greatly in their patterns of religious observance and, in the first and second generations, these continued to be strongly influenced by the backgrounds from which they had come. In 1900 about half the Catholics in Greater New York were of Irish descent. They came from a country where, for the majority of the population, Catholicism was the embodiment of national identity in the face of foreign rule, where priests and 87. H. McLeod, Class and Religion in the late Victorian City (London, 1974), p. 25; G. Cholvy and Y.-M. Hilaire, Histoire religieuse de la France contemporaine, 3 vols (Toulouse, 1985-8), ii, p. 198; J. Rohde, 'Streiflichter aus der Berliner Kirchengeschichte von 1900 bis 1918', in G. Wirth (ed.,), Beitrdge zur Berliner Kirchengeschichte (Berlin, 1987), p. 219. 88. For a brief discussion of the reasons for the wide divergence between religious patterns in New York, London and Berlin, see H. McLeod, 'Secular Cities?', in S. Bruce, ed., Religion and Modernization (Oxford, 1992), and for a more detailed discussion, McLeod, Poverty and Piety.

The 'Golden Age' of New York City Catholicism


nuns enjoyed very high status, and where, by the later nineteenth century, the great majority of Catholics attended mass regularly.89 About a fifth of New York's Catholics were of German or Polish descent. The Poles came from a situation somewhat similar to that in Ireland; and though patterns of religious observance in Germany varied greatly, Catholic religious practice tended to be fairly high. Admittedly, the background of the other major Catholic group in New York, the Italians, was very different: at least into the 1940s, attendance at mass was markedly below average in Italian parishes. The last factor that I am going to mention relates to the distinctive character of Catholicism around the end of the nineteenth century. The Catholic clergy of this time presented Christianity in a way that combined the 'stick' and the 'carrot' very effectively, at least in respect of the objective of retaining a large practising membership, drawn from a wide range of social groups. On the one hand, priests and nuns exercised a firm disciplinary role, which was reinforced at times by a kind of hell-fire preaching which was going out of fashion in most Protestant denominations.90 On the other hand, the respect, and even fear, which they inspired, was often mingled with feelings of love and gratitude. Moreover, Catholic worship and styles of devotion appealed directly to the senses and to the imagination of those who would have found a Protestant service too cerebral. Where mainstream Protestantism could only offer the hope of a future heaven, Catholics, like Pentecostalists, offered the poor and the sick the hope of miracles here and now.

89. S. Connolly, Religion and Society in Nineteenth-Century Ireland (Dundalk, 1985), pp. 47-60. 90. For Catholic hell-fire preaching, see J.P. Dolan, Catholic Revivalism: The American Experience, 1830-1900 (Notre Dame, IN, 1978), pp. 97-100. H.R. Jackson, Churches and People in Australia and New Zealand, 1860-1930 (Wellington, 1987) provides illuminating comparisons between Catholicism and Protestantism, and stresses Catholic authoritarianism.

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The Christian Socialist Revival in Britain: A Reappraisal David M. Thompson

Those who have written on revivals of religion, at least since Jonathan Edwards, have emphasised that the ability to distinguish between true and false religion is crucial in appraising a revival. But it would be wrong to suppose that authentic religious revival is always or primarily otherworldly. In his early essay on its origins, and in his so far unpublished Birkbeck Lectures at Cambridge, John Walsh has stressed the complexity of the Evangelical Revival and has resisted oversimple attempts to categorise it. He has also shown a healthy scepticism about Halevy's interpretation of the impact of the revival on British politics and society.1 So it may be appropriate to take as the thesis to be challenged in this essay another statement of Halevy: 'No Protestant revival could fail to be, in some measure at least, a revival of religious individualism.'2 Peter Jones has written of a 'Christian Socialist Revival' between 1877 and 1914, and the idea has been widely taken up. Most discussions of Christian socialism have recognised that it is not to be confused with secular socialism, even if Marx's savage description of it as 'the holy water with which the priest consecrates the heart-burnings of the aristocrat' has generally been rejected.3 Nevertheless, although the programmes and policies advocated by Christian socialists in the 1880s were very varied, there has been a tendency among some historians to regard Marxism in particular and collective ownership in general as the touchstone of a true socialism, and to judge the authenticity of Christian socialism by that criterion. Other forms of socialist thought have been treated as stepping stones to or inadequate versions of scientific socialism.4 Yet the ideas of Henry George were probably more important than those of Marx,

1. J.D. Walsh, 'The Origins of the Evangelical Revival' in G.V. Bennett and J.D. Walsh, ed, Essays in Modern English Church History in Memory of Norman Sykes (London, 1966), pp. 136-37. 2. E. Halevy, England in 1815 (London, 1949), p. 587. 3. K. Marx and F. Engels, 'Manifesto of the Communist Party', Selected Works (Moscow, 1962), i, p. 56. 4. E.g. E.R. Norman, Church and Society in England, 1770-1970 (Oxford, 1976), pp. 167-86; the variety is illustrated by G.C. Binyon, The Christian Socialist Movement in England (London, 1931), pp. 126-27.



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and the influence of Auguste Comte was considerable. His positivism was adopted by leading British secular humanists such as Frederic Harrison, and that was what Christian apologists such as B.F. Westcott or R.W. Dale felt the need to combat or 'complete'.5 This task was considerably assisted by new insights into the Bible and a rediscovery of patristic theology. However, the traditional emphasis on Anglo-Catholic social thought, and particularly its explicit sacramental and ecclesiastical basis, has disguised the extent to which that too depended on the same influences. Ruth Kenyon's essay on 'The Social Aspect of the Catholic Revival' did not even attempt to draw any close links between the ideas of the Tractarians and those of Stewart Headlam or Charles Gore; she completely ignored Henry Scott Holland, whom Gore regarded as the driving force behind the Christian Social Union.6 This essay therefore suggests that the late Victorian revival of social concern among the churches was broader than the narrowly defined Christian socialist tradition. More than anything else the unifying force behind support for 'socialist' ideas of various kinds was an attack on individualism. The diversity of ideas, several of the sources for which will be considered here, is not so much the expression of a confusion about what socialism 'really' means as an indication of the extent to which an older tradition was under attack. This is why F.D. Maurice, who was relatively neglected in his lifetime, subsequently became a posthumous hero. Theologically, he and Coleridge symbolised the attack on the priority of individual salvation. Furthermore, and this may seem the most paradoxical point of all, evangelical input provides an underlying continuity to the story. Peter Jones's detailed analysis of the Christian socialists distinguished between more 'radical' and less 'radical', sacramentalists and immanentists, Anglicans and nonconformists. Their common religious ideas included the belief that 'applied Christianity' was a possibility, that the central tenet of Christianity was the brotherhood of man, and an emphasis on the personality of Jesus Christ. Their common economic ideas were more elusive. Apart from the powerful influence of Henry George's Progress and Poverty (1879), 'the majority of Christian socialists . . . tended to borrow whatever economic ideas and techniques seemed appropriate from the secular movements around them'. Professor Jones concluded that the Christian socialists' contribution to the evolution of British socialist thought was minimal and their contribution to Christian thought was only slightly greater. The Christian socialists 'helped to

5. Ibid., pp. 97-98; D.M. Thompson, 'The Emergence of the Nonconformist Social Gospel in England', in Protestant Evangelicalism: Britain, Ireland, Germany and America, c. 1750-C.1950, ed. K. Robbins, Studies in Church History, Subsidia 7 (Oxford, 1990), pp. 264, 270-73. 6. R. Kenyon, 'The Social Aspect of the Catholic Revival' in N.P. Williams and C. Harris, ed., Northern Catholicism (London 1933), pp. 367-97. For an argument that first-generation Tractarians did try to develop a social theory, see S. Skinner, 'The Social Thought of the Oxford Movement (with Specific Reference to The British Critic, 1827-1843)' (unpublished University of Oxford M.Phil, thesis, 1989).

The Christian Socialist Revival in Britain: A Reappraisal


make socialism more respectable', but their fundamental weakness was their middle-classness, something which they shared with other types of socialist.7 This is a delicate area in which to distinguish contemporary perceptions from historical analysis. The association of Christian socialism in England with the high-church party has often meant that evangelical social concern by contrast has been regarded as reactionary, while nonconformist social concern has been treated as derivative. The evangelicals are striking by their absence from Professor Jones's account. In his view evangelical Anglicanism had been deeply penetrated by 'Nonconformist individualism' in the Victorian age, reaffirming 'the refusal to admit any moral connection between Christian faith and political and social life' which had become established among Anglicans and nonconformists alike in the eighteenth century. He remarked that nonconformist socialism was 'elusive and harder to define than the sacramental variety', and suggested that even though the doctrine of divine immanence ran through its theology there was no clear or well-defined dogmatic core. I have argued elsewhere that such a view is mistaken.8 Understandably Jones regarded Maurice as the key influence in counteracting 'the morbid fear of personal sin' and the search for a merely individual salvation, though Maurice himself might have been rather surprised at the description of his theology as a 'rejection of supernaturalism'. This sharp distinction between an evangelical and a Maurician view is nowadays a commonplace, but it was not always so. A 1910 essay on 'The Evangelical Revival and Philanthropy' remarked that one has only to glance at the pages of Ruskin and Carlyle, to say nothing about Charles Kingsley and Maurice, to see whence they drew their deeper inspirations and whose spiritual children they really were. The very phrases of the Evangelical leaders are constantly on their lips, and the deep religious spirit pervading their social hope and philanthropic dream is born of that great second Reformation which began with Wesley.9 Westcott, whose use of the term 'social gospel' is the earliest that I have traced in England,10 also saw himself as part of a single tradition. He became a canon 7. P.d'A. Jones, The Christian Socialist Revival, 1877-1914 (Princeton, 1968), pp. 431-59: quotations from pp. 448, 457: these ideas were developed and applied more generally in Edward Norman's major study, Church and Society in England, 1770-1970. Jones's account has also been criticised in A.A. Eckbert, 'The Social Thought of the Christian Social Union, 1889-1914' (unpublished University of Oxford M.Litt. thesis, 1990). 8. Jones, Christian Socialist Revival, pp. 12, 306; D.M. Thompson, 'John Clifford's Social Gospel', Baptist Quarterly, xxxi, 5 (Jan. 1986), p. 214; idem 'Nonconformist Social Gospel', pp. 256ff. Evangelical involvement in this debate is considered in E.J. Garnett, 'Aspects of the Relationship between Protestant Ethics and Economic Activity in Mid-Victorian England' (unpublished University of Oxford D.Phil, thesis, 1986), especially pp. 18-19, 270-71. 9. T.C. Hall, 'The Evangelical Revival and Philanthropy', in J.B. Paton, P.W. Bunting and A.W. Garvie, ed., Christ and Civilization (London, 1910), p. 403. 10. B.F. Westcott, Social Aspects of Christianity (London, 1887), pp. v, 96.


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of Westminster in February 1884 and always regarded the Abbey as a place where the social gospel was preached with touching eloquence. Westcott was moved by Dean Bradley's sermon in 1885 at the Innocents' Day service for children (begun by Dean Stanley in December 1871), when he described the plight of children before Lord Shaftesbury's work for factory reform. Writing to his wife, he noted that it was easy to see 'how the grandchildren of those who were children then should be radicals now. And what was the Church doing? I wonder whether our eyes are open now.'11 Part of the explanation for the subsequent bifurcation was the increasingly intense polarisation between evangelicals and ritualists in the Church of England in the last quarter of the century. Even Shaftesbury wrote in his diary in December 1877: All zeal for Christ seems to have passed away. The Ritualists have more of it than the Evangelicals. There are noble exceptions, but, as a body, 'These people honour Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me'.12

By then the kind of evangelical commitment to social justice for which Shaftesbury stood was found more within evangelical nonconformity than the evangelical party in the Church of England, and it is significant that the 1910 essay quoted earlier was in a nonconformist collection. The split between liberal and conservative evangelical Anglicans grew after 1900 over a variety of questions, mainly relating to biblical criticism but also including, according to some accounts, the place of social questions in their agenda. From this point the term 'social gospel', which in its American context had clear evangelical roots, came to be castigated as the liberal alternative to a true conservative evangelicalism. This division was consolidated after the First World War, and the standard picture of the history of Christian socialism took shape with Charles Raven's book of 1920. Raven criticised both the evangelical and Oxford movements, regarding evangelical individualism at its best as 'unpractical and pietistic' and at its worst as 'a mere device for repressing honest aspiration and obstructing every attempt at progress'. He based these criticisms on the theological persecution of the Christian socialists, especially Maurice, by evangelicals, although he regarded Lord Shaftesbury as an exception.13 The

11. A. Westcott, Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott (London, 1903), ii, p. 10; R.E. Prothero, Life and Correspondence of Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (London, 1894), ii, p. 301; G.G. Bradley, Innocents' Day Addresses (London, 1904), pp. 82-98. 12. E. Hodder, The Life and Work of the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, K.G. (London, 1886), iii, p. 383; cf. J.L. & Barbara Hammond, Lord Shaftesbury (London, 1936), pp. 248-51. 13. C. Raven, Christian Socialism, 1848-54 (London, 1920), p. 12. Raven, as dean of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, had been involved in an abortive attempt in 1919 to heal the rift between the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union and the Student Christian Movement, which dated back to 1910: F.W. Dillistone, Charles Raven (London, 1975), pp. 91-96; D.M. Thompson, Same Difference: Liberals and Conservatives in the Student Movement (Birmingham 1990), pp. 2-7; F.D. Coggan, ed., Christ and the Colleges (London, 1934), p. 17; T. Tatlow, The Story of the Student Christian Movement (London, 1933), p. 645.

The Christian Socialist Revival in Britain: A Reappraisal


division may be regarded as complete when an essay in the second series of essays on liberal evangelicalism in the early 1920s (to which Raven was also a contributor) said that the social gospel was more than a by-product of redemption: it was its logical outcome.14 Nevertheless, that group did see themselves as liberal evangelicals, and to understand the broader continuity we must return to the evangelical origins. That provides a link with the most important philanthropic concern of the early nineteenth century — the antislavery movement. Slavery was a particularly poignant issue for Christians because it could be (and was) argued to be an institution which was acknowledged in Scripture. Paul's affirmation to the Galatians that in Christ there is neither bond nor free is balanced by his advice to the Corinthians that everyone should remain in the state in which he was called; and Onesimus the slave was sent back to his master without a direct appeal to release him from slavery, though Philemon was urged to receive him as a brother rather than a slave.15 The campaign against slavery led by evangelicals could not, therefore, rest on a simple appeal to Scripture. In England the implications of the arguments lay overseas (hence many evangelicals were criticised for their lack of interest in factory reform) but in the U.S.A. the argument was inescapably domestic. Moreover, since the arguments used to justify slavery were very similar to those used to justify support of the existing political order in general, the whole slavery question became a touchstone for Christian involvement in socio-political issues. The fact that the social gospel flowered in the U.S.A. after the Civil War (though its origins go back earlier) was significant for the attitudes of British Christians to the social order too. It had accustomed many to the practice of criticising Scripture by Scripture, and this critical principle was to be crucial. Any shift in ecclesiastical social thought also depended on a disruption of the peace which churchmen had made with political economy earlier in the century. Arnold Toynbee remarked that two conceptions were woven into every argument of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations: 'the belief in the supreme value of individual liberty, and the conviction that Man's self-love is God's providence, that the individual in pursuing his own interest is promoting the welfare of all'.16 This opinion took its most theological form in the appendix to the third edition of Malthus's Essay on Population where he wrote that God had made 'the passion of self-love beyond comparison stronger than the passion of benevolence': By this wise provision the most ignorant are led to promote the general happiness, an end which they would have totally failed to attain, if the moving 14. T.G. Rogers, 'The Christian View of Life' in T.G. Rogers ed., The Inner Life: Essays in Liberal Evangelicalism, second series (London, n.d.), p. 142. 15. Galatians 3:28; I Corinthians 7:20-24; Philemon 16-17. 16. A Toynbee, 'Ricardo and the Old Political Economy' in Lectures on the Industrial Revolution in England: Popular Addresses, Notes and Other Fragments (4th edn, London, 1894), p. 11.


Revival and Religion since 1700

principle of their conduct had been benevolence. Benevolence indeed, as the great and constant source of action, would require the most perfect knowledge of causes and effects, and therefore can only be the attribute of the deity. In a being so short-sighted as man, it would lead into the grossest errors, and soon transform the fair and cultivated soil of civilized society into a dreary scene of want and confusion.17

Malthus did go on to draw a distinction between self-love and selfishness and Toynbee himself noted that political economy was not 'the gospel of self-interest in the sense often supposed'. Nevertheless philosophers, moralists and even statesmen had deplored the doctrine of individualism. 'They all saw in the proclamation of the reign of self-interest the universal abolition of feelings of kindliness and gratitude, of filial reverence and paternal care, of political fidelity and patriotism - in short all the elements which welded society into a whole.'18 Yet the only success in the campaign against political economy, thought Toynbee, had been the regulation of factories. Toynbee's comments highlight the significance of the reconciliation achieved by both evangelicals and traditional churchmen with political economy, and especially the legacy of Robert Malthus.19 The Essay on Population had seemed to dash the optimism of the eighteenth-century world-view of Christianity. Edward Norman, following R.A. Soloway, noted the significance of J.B. Sumner's Treatise on the Records of the Creation (1816) in reconciling Malthus's work with a more traditional optimism.20 More recent work has shown that Sumner's work was more than a response to secular political economy deriving from Adam Smith: it contributed to a distinctively Christian political economy that was probably more influential than its secular counterpart, even in the episode regarded as critical by all commentators, the reform of the English poor law in 1834. Peter Mandler has shown how high-church noetics like Edward Copleston and evangelicals like Sumner brought together natural theology and political economy, so combining the evidence of Scripture and of natural human moral reasoning. On this understanding the end of human improvement was not greater material comfort or happiness, but the striving for higher levels of virtue:

17. T.R. Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population (6th edn, London, 1826), p. 454, in E.A. Wrigley & D. Souden ed., The Works of Thomas Robert Malthus (London, 1986), iii, p. 586; quoted in Toynbee, Industrial Revolution, p. 12. 18. Ibid., pp. 23-24. 19. His most recent biographers point out that he never used his first name, Thomas: W. Peterson, Malthus (London 1979), p. 21; P. James, Population Malthus: His Life and Times (London, 1979), p. 1. 20. Norman, Church and Society in England, pp. 43-44; R.A. Soloway, Prelates and People: Ecclesiastical Social Thought in England, 1783-1852 (London, 1969), pp. 93-116. Soloway suggested that church leaders after 1816 learnt their Malthus from Sumner (Prelates and People, p. 101), although a few pages earlier he had said that 'if they missed the first edition of Malthus's Essay, they certainly read one of the later editions' (pp. 92-93).

The Christian Socialist Revival in Britain: A Reappraisal


The attainment of virtue through moral discipline is simply 'the great object of our existence on earth'. In order to maximize the production of virtue, providence reinforces duty with interest by means of the principle of population.21 Inequality was therefore a matter of natural necessity arising out of the division of property and ranks according to unequal exertions; whilst wealth 'serves as both a visible token of virtue and the gateway to new levels of moral achievement, for only the rich can exercise the higher virtues, such as benevolence, which are motivated by duty alone'.22 Moreover, although human government could destroy virtue, it could never create it — the individual was the only source of virtue. It was not even certain that government could eradicate vice, though it had a duty to punish obvious sin. The way was clear for the reform of the poor law on the basis of 'less eligibility'. On such views there could be no doubting the Tightness of the existing order of things. Indeed it may be seen as a reversion to Leibniz's dictum that wise and virtuous people will be 'content with what God actually brings to pass by his secret, consequent and positive will, recognising that if we could sufficiently understand the order of the universe, we should find that it exceeds all the desires of the wisest men and that it is impossible to make it better than it is . . ,'23 Leibniz's philosophy was highly regarded by eighteenth-century pietists, notwithstanding Voltaire's biting criticism in Candide, and such a view of the social order was common ground between high churchmen and evangelicals, embodied in Wilberforce's Practical View. Yet there was another strand linking evangelicals: their philanthropic activism. They found it easier to justify the wisdom of God's purpose in creation than what his creatures had made of it. In a famous passage Sir James Stephen described the concerns of Exeter Hall: the mediterranean waters lift up their voice in a ceaseless swell of exulting or pathetic declamation. The changeful strain rises with the civilisation of Africa, or becomes plaintive over the wrongs of chimney-boys, or peals anathemas against the successors of Peter, or in rich diapason calls on the Protestant Churches to wake and evangelise the world . . . Ours is the age of societies. For the redress of every oppression that is done under the sun, there is a public meeting. For the cure of every sorrow by which our land or our race can be visited, there are patrons, vice-presidents, and secretaries. For the diffusion of every blessing of which mankind can partake in common, there is a committee. That confederacy which, when pent up within the narrow limits of Clapham, jocose men invidiously call a 'Sect', is now spreading through the habitable globe.24

21. P. Mandler, 'Tories and Paupers: Christian Political Economy and the Making of the New Poor Law', Historical Journal, xxxiii (1990), p. 87. 22. Ibid. 23. G.W. Leibniz, The Monadology, ed. R. Latta (Oxford, 1898), para. 90, pp. 270-71. 24. J. Stephen, 'The Clapham Sect', Essays in Ecclesiastical Biography (London, 1868), pp. 582-83, 584.


Revival and Religion since 1700

In the middle of the passage there are a few sentences, usually omitted, which form the logical hinge of the argument. Exeter Hall, said Stephen, in putting theory into practice was 'almost as much a Socialist as Mr Owen himself: The moral regeneration which she foretells is to be brought about neither by church, by workhouse, by monk, by hero, nor by the purifying of St James's. She believes in the continually decreasing power of individual, and the as constantly augmenting power of associated minds.25

This sense of the significance and power of association constituted a direct link with Maurice's Christian socialism, and the significance attached to organisation by later commentators such as William Cunningham. Cunningham was a convert to the Church of England from the Free Church of Scotland, and a distinguished economic historian as well as an influential Anglican commentator on social affairs. In 1879 he wrote an article in the Contemporary Review on 'The Progress of Socialism in England'. Somewhat surprisingly in view of his subsequent reputation as a scourge of Christian socialism, he criticised the view that unrestricted competitive private enterprise was the best economic system for the future, despite the benefits it had brought in the past. It was not clear that the investors who drew the profits of industrial enterprise were really promoting more active production, and there was good reason to believe that the distribution of wealth was producing a relative depression of the labourers. Cunningham regarded legislative restrictions on the free action of capitalists as justifiable in the public interest: he thought that joint stock companies provided an opportunity for public service which a private capitalist would never consider; and he welcomed municipal enterprise and the development of cooperative societies. Thus without speculating on the form of an ideal socialism like Fourier or Owen, Cunningham suggested that 'our actual condition is slowly tending towards the realisation of the main features of all Socialism' because 'the competition of individuals, and organisation of all kinds, are fundamentally opposed to one another'. He looked forward to a time when through the development of cooperative associations there might be a more economical calculation of the public demands, which would even out violent fluctuations in production, thereby making it possible for 'central or local governing bodies' to take over the management of the industries that supplied public wants: In some departments private industry would hold its own far longer than in others, but there would be a tendency in favour of the facilities of production becoming public property, and being maintained and kept up, not by individual enterprise but by judicious management of the rates. If that tendency were ever able to work itself out, it would lead to a time when all private capitalists had been bought up by the State, or by local communities, and when all the needs

25. Ibid., p. 583.

The Christian Socialist Revival in Britain: A Reappraisal


of the citizens — like their needs of defence and of water — were supplied by labour applied to public resources.26

Nationalisation, as the logical development of the municipal ownership of vital services which already characterised late Victorian Britain, could be seen as an entirely natural progression even before the 'socialist revival' of the 1880s had begun. Significantly, Cunningham was writing at a time when the question of matching supply to demand was particularly acute because of the depression. By 1912 he certainly doubted whether nationalisation was a universal panacea, and he did not think it would be effective in industry and agriculture (as distinct from public services like the railways or postal service) because enterprise was required, which was notoriously lacking in public bodies.27 Three years earlier he had explained the rapid progress of socialism since 1879 by exaggerated views of what the state could achieve on the one hand and on the other by a change in the direction of political economy (epitomised by Marshall and Pigou) towards providing guidance for social policy. Very many educated people had been relieved to discover that they were now 'set free from any intellectual obligation to refrain from advocating proposals, to which they are impelled by a sentiment in favour of the less unequal distribution of wealth, and their sympathy for the poor'.28 But the mistake of both socialism and the new political economy was to claim too much for itself. Somewhat like Toynbee, Cunningham regarded economic history as the test of the validity of economic principles, which was why he fell out with Marshall. From an economic point of view he regarded socialism as too much concerned with the distribution of wealth and not enough with its creation; morally he thought it unable to provide appropriate guidance because of its materialism. 'The attraction of Socialism', he wrote, 'lies not in the reasoning which supports it, but in the hope it holds out and the sense of duty it inspires. It is the form which the enthusiasm for humanity takes in the present day.'29 'The enthusiasm for humanity' will reappear later, but Cunningham's references to the criticism of selfishness and the appeal to duty struck chords with evangelical Christianity. They were also to be found in someone who had an unexpected influence on many contemporary English Christians, the Italian nationalist leader, Guiseppe Mazzini. There is no systematic study of Mazzini's influence in England, but it was considerable. As long ago as 1915 Gaetano Salvemini noted that Mazzini's religious influence was felt more in England than in Italy.30 Arnold Toynbee (whose father had been a friend of 26. W. Cunningham, 'The Progress of Socialism in England', Contemporary Review, xxxiv (Jan. 1879), pp. 245-60; quotations from pp. 259-60. 27. Idem, The Causes of Labour Unrest and the Remedies for it (London, 1912), pp. 18-20. 28. Idem, 'Christianity and Socialism', Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute, xli (1909), p. 75. 29. Ibid., pp. 80-81. 30. G. Salvemini, Mazzini (London, 1956), pp. 116-18; E.Y.Y. Hales, Mazzini and the Secret Societies (London, 1956), p. 199.


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Mazzini and whose friend, Bolton King, was to write Mazzini's biography) said that 'not Adam Smith, not Carlyle, great as he was, but Mazzini is the true teacher of our age'.31 According to his daughter, Hugh Price Hughes, the Wesleyan Methodist minister and social critic, most admired Mazzini of all the men who had ever lived. This was partly because Hughes disliked the middle-class nature of English radicalism and Mazzini's pleading and feeling for the peoples of Europe had an authenticity which that of a well-housed Englishman did not. But the main attraction was 'his sublime and highly religious conceptions of Democracy . . . Mazzini's saying, that "every right presupposes a duty" became the interpretation of his political ideas . . ,'32 Yet Mazzini was not a Christian, which Hughes thought was because 'all the religion that Mazzini knew about was what the Italian priests were full of'.33 As he once put it in a sermon, Mazzini 'believed that Christianity taught men to be selfish; that it taught them to be so wrapped up in thoughts of the future that they neglected their duty on earth'. Hughes said this was a mistake, but the reason for it was that 'Christians had neglected to declare that the teaching of Christ was applicable to every phase of life'.34 The type of passage Hughes was referring to may be seen in one of Mazzini's last works, to the members of the first Vatican Council, in which he wrote: 'You refuse, in the name of an individual salvation to be achieved through faith and prayer, all communion with the great collective sorrows the holy battles, and the enancipatory hopes of mankind.'35 But Hughes was wrong to link Mazzini's error to his Roman Catholic background. In Faith and the Future, Mazzini declared that the French Revolution, with its emphasis on the rights of the individual, was 'the political translation of the Protestant revolution'36; and elsewhere he accused Protestants of magnifying the individual 'till their creed had become a doctrine of material and spiritual selfishness, which must logically develop into pure materialism'. It had inspired the 'inhumanity and anarchy of the laissez-faire economy' and 'had made the salvation of the individual soul the end of life'.37 Mazzini was often criticised by socialists because he was alleged to have no interest in the social question. He himself criticised the socialists for their materialism and Toynbee declared in 1882 that the same abhorrence of materialism separated English radical socialists from continental socialists. 'To a reluctant admission of the necessity for State action,' said Toynbee, 'we join a burning belief in duty, and a deep spiritual ideal of life.' That belief

31. A. Toynbee, 'Industry and Democracy', Industrial Revolution, p. 200. 32. D. Price Hughes, The Life of Hugh Price Hughes (London, 1904), p. 82. 33. Ibid. 34. H. Price Hughes, Social Christianity (London, 1890), p. 22. 35. G. Mazzini, 'From the Council to God', The Duties of Man and Other Essays (London, 1907), pp. 298-99. 36. Idem, 'Faith and the Future', Essays: Selected from the Writings, Literary, Political, and Religious, of Joseph Mazzini, ed. W. Clarke (London, n.d.), p. 23. 37. B. King, Mazzini (London, 1902), p. 227.

The Christian Socialist Revival in Britain: A Reappraisal


in duty was more than abstract: it involved 'an appeal to the various classes who compose society to perform those duties without which all social reform must be merely delusive'.38 In an important essay on Thomas Carlyle, Mazzini wrote: 'Mr Carlyle comprehends only the individual; the true sense of the unity of the human race escapes him. He sympathises with all men, but it is with the separate life of each, and not with their collective life'.39 He constantly criticised the French Revolution for its individualism: 'Right, that is to say, the individual asserting himself, was its life, its soul, its strength. Duty, that is to say, the individual submitting himself to the idea of a collective aim to be attained, never was its directing thought.'40 In the last piece he ever wrote, he returned to the same theme: 'Man has no rights from nature, save only the one right of liberating himself from every obstacle impeding his free fulfilment of his own duties . . . Each of us lives not for himself, but for all; and we cannot fulfil our own progress apart from that of the rest.'41 In place of the individual Mazzini set not only the idea of the nation for which he is usually remembered, but also the idea of humanity, which he probably derived from Vico and Herder.42 In his essay on Carlyle he wrote: We have begun to suspect, not only that there is upon the earth something greater, more holy, more divine than the individual — namely, Humanity — the collective Being always living, learning, advancing toward God, of which we are but the instruments; but that it is alone from the summit of this collective idea, from the conception of the Universal Mind, 'of which', as Emerson says, 'each individual man is one more incarnation', that we can derive our mission, the rule of our life, the aim of our societies.43

So he did not mind the mistakes of St Simon, Owen or Fourier because they had set out in a new direction, which recognised the importance of the social principle, what he called 'the indissoluble copartnery of all generations and all individuals in the human race'.44 John Clifford, another nonconformist of Christian socialist leanings, also admired Emerson. His 1891 address on 'The Coming Theology' is a good illustration of the way in which echoes of Mazzini pervade a new emphasis on the corporate and the secular: Through Christ man has realized himself in some degree as an individual; it remains for him to accomplish the greater task of realizing himself as humanity . . . [The Coming Theology] will not lose sight of the individual, but

38. A. Toynbee, 'Are Radicals Socialists?', Industrial Revolution, p. 220. 39. J. Mazzini, 'On the Genius and Tendency of the Writings of Thomas Carlyle', Essays, p. 124. 40. Mazzini, 'Europe: Its Conditions and Prospects', ibid., p. 276. 41. Idem, 'M. Renan and France', ibid., p. 308. 42. King, Mazzini, p. 242. 43. Mazzini, 'The Writings of Thomas Carlyle', Essays, p. 122. 44. Ibid., p. 123.


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it will strongly assert the solid oneness of all nations and races; the brotherhood of all men. Politics will be religious. The 'secular' will be banished by being spiritualized. Women and children will have their rights restored. Men will be taught to look upon the 'necessities' of the world as a common stock in which they are partners, and the work of the world as their privilege.45

In a later book, Clifford used Mazzini's account of his call to deliver his country as a modern illustration of the complete change of the view of life which Jesus himself proclaimed.46 Mazzini was not the only one to invoke the concept of humanity to call people to a wider commitment. Indeed the idea of a religion of humanity is more readily associated with the name of Auguste Comte. Comte's influence on mid Victorian intellectuals is now more generally acknowledged than once it was, as it is on several of those involved in the labour movement between Chartism and the emerging socialism of the 1880s.47 Positivism was also the creed of significant members of the organised secularist movement, which challenged the churches in the later nineteenth century. By the end of the century Comte's direct influence was very much on the wane, though his indirect influence on ways of thought lasted longer, particularly in modern sociology. But this is why leading exponents of the Christian social gospel — Westcott, Dale, Paton, Fairbairn, Hughes, Clifford — had been engaged in a more or less continuous dialogue with positivism since the 1860s. The influence of positivism is seen most directly on Westcott. He was not a Tractarian high churchman, but a Cambridge high churchman like his friend and pupil, Archbishop Benson. It is a commonplace that Westcott's thought was dominated by the doctrine of the Incarnation. But interestingly this emphasis is linked to his response to Comte. His time as a canon of Westminster from 1884 established his position as a social thinker, and led to his selection as the first president of the Christian Social Union in 1889. His first sermon at Westminster spoke of the incarnation as the revelation of God's purpose for his world — a view of life 'as individual in its responsibility and social in its aims'.48 He developed this theme in his Westminster sermons of 1885 and 1886, published as Cbristus Consummator and Social Aspects of Christianity. A crucial passage in a sermon in January 1886, in which he was discussing the relation of Incarnation and Atonement, makes the links in his thought clear:

45. J. Clifford, The Christian Certainties (London, 1894), pp. 304, 306; cf. Thompson, 'Clifford's Social Gospel', p. 210. 46. J. Clifford, The Ultimate Problems of Christianity (London 1906), pp. 190-91. 47. T.R. Wright, The Religion of Humanity (Cambridge, 1986); R. Harrison, Before the Socialists (London, 1965), pp. 251-342; C.D. Cashdollar, The Transformation of Theology, 1830-1890: Positivism and Protestant Thought in Britain and America (Princeton, 1989). My main work on the influence of postivism was completed before Cashdollar's authoritative study appeared. 48. B.F. Westcott, Social Aspects, p. vii.

The Christian Socialist Revival in Britain: A Reappraisal


Fifty years ago the term 'solidarity' and the idea which it conveys were alike strange or unknown. We had not apprehended in any living way that we are, as St Paul says, literally members one of another; as men and nations. It was then fashionable to regard a state as an aggregation of individuals bound together by considerations of interest or pleasure. But we have now learnt in some degree, and we are learning better from year to year, that the family and not the individual is the unit of human life: that the nation is a larger family: that humanity is the ultimate family . . . that the family, the nation, the race, are living wholes which cannot be broken up by any effort of individual will.49

(The categorisation of family, nation and race is reminiscent of Maurice's Social Morality, but the use of the phrase 'humanity is the ultimate family' seems deliberately to evoke contemporary associations of the notion of humanity.) In a series of Holy Week sermons, preached in Hereford Cathedral in 1888, Westcott noted that 'the fact of a vital connexion of men with one another, as children of all the past, as parents of all the future' had been presented 'as one of the most signal results of modern social speculation'. For the Christian 'this doctrine of the solidarity of mankind — that we men are one man — is no novelty', because it was part of the message which the incarnation contained.50 The modern social speculation Westcott had in mind was the work of Comte and his followers. He had first written about Comte and Christianity after reading Comte's Politique positive in the summer of 1867, which he found 'a powerful expression of many salient features of that which I had long held to be the true social embodiment of the Gospel, of a social ideal which the faith in Christ is alone, I believe, able to realise'.51 In 1865 he had written The Gospel of the Resurrection, reflecting the way in which he had overcome his own undergraduate scepticism, probably as an indirect contribution to the debate created by Essays and Reviews — a debate prompted, significantly, by a review of the book by Frederic Harrison, then a recent convert to positivism.52 He argued that the doctrine of the resurrection of the body had important moral implications, because it gave eternal significance to earthly relationships: The perfect reconciliation of the claims and duties of the individual and of the society is no less characteristic of the teaching of Christianity than the hallowing (so to speak) of the mutual relationship of soul and body; and both doctrines alike find their historical basis and the pledge of their realisation in the Resurrection.53 49. Idem, Christus Consummator (3rd edn, London, 1890), pp. 120-21. 50. Idem, The Victory of the Cross (London, 1888), pp. 39-40. 51. Idem, Social Aspects, p. xii. It is not clear whether Westcott was prompted to read Comte by the publication of John Stuart Mill's essay, Auguste Comte and Positivism, in 1865: Cashdollar, Transformation of Theology, pp. 161, 431-35. 52. A. Westcott, Life and Letters, i, pp. 249-50. 53. B.F. Westcott, The Gospel of the Resurrection (5th edn, London, 1884), pp. 183-84; cf p. 210.


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In the preface to the second edition of 1867, he said that he would have wished to add a chapter on the resurrection and the world which would take account of Comte's 'positive religion', which, he said, offered 'a very noble, though a very partial view of Christianity in its political and social aspects, but without the one essential foundation of a historic CHRIST'.54 He never wrote the chapter but in the third edition of 1874 he added his July 1868 Contemporary Review article as an appendix. Westcott boldly argued that there was no fundamental antagonism between positivism and Christianity. In particular he welcomed the emphasis which positivism laid on religion as the harmony of man and the cosmos, since it brought back to the fore aspects of Christian truth in the Greek fathers which had been hidden by the narrower system of Latin theology. Comte thereby Vindicated for religion its social destination'. The Comtean doctrine of continuity made a historical sense important: it was not sufficient 'to transfer a form of one age unaltered into another'. Similarly the doctrine of solidarity consecrated the permanent variety of functions in life and substituted duties for rights. Westcott therefore gave a Christian basis to the belief in progress which was gathering momentum in Victorian Britain: 'Doctrine which is based upon the Incarnation or the Resurrection must be progressive'; and the Gospel must be more than individual: It is not always enough that each should feel in his own heart the power of the Gospel to meet individual wants. We must claim for it also to be recognised as a wisdom revealed and realised only in the advance of time, and embracing in one infinite fact all that men have aspired to for themselves and for the transitory order in which they are placed.55

In 1869 he read Maurice's Social Morality. Maurice had also discussed Comte, and acknowledged that as a clergyman and a professor of moral theology he felt under 'unspeakable obligations' to him. Comte had 'cleared the ground of much rubbish which hindered us from knowing where we were standing': If what we have called the Kingdom of Heaven is not concerned about the reformation or regeneration of the earth, we must confess that we have been walking in a dream, or have been deliberately imposing a lie upon our fellow creatures.56

Maurice suggested that 'if Comtists know the secret of combining reverence for all mankind with resistance to the selfishness to which we feel that each of us has continually yielded, surely we should listen earnestly while they impart

54. Ibid., p. xxvi. 55. Ibid., pp. 250-51, 253-54, 263, 266-67, 272, 275-76. 56. F.D. Maurice, Social Morality (London, 1893), p. 356.

The Christian Socialist Revival in Britain: A Reappraisal


it?'57 However, as might be expected, Maurice criticised Comte for urging a belief in a headless humanity. Maurice's emphasis on Christ as the head of the human race illustrates the difference between Maurice's and Westcott's approach to Comte, and also shows why Westcott's social thought was not essentially derived from Maurice. Contemporary nonconformists took a similar line to Westcott's. J.B. Paton, founder and first principal of the Congregational Institute at Nottingham to train working men for the ministry, told his students that, 'To be a Comtist you need to be a Christian. You live for men when you live for Christ's sake.'58 R.W. Dale, Congregational minister of Carr's Lane, Birmingham, and A.M. Fairbairn, principal of Airedale College, Bradford, and Mansfield College, Oxford, discussed Comte in published writings in 1869 and 1871 respectively; and John Clifford took 'Jesus Christ and Modern Social Life' as the theme of his chairman's address to the General Baptist Association in 1872. Clifford admired the insistence of positivism on 'the total oneness of all human interests' and 'the necessity of self-sacrifice', but felt that it lacked moral power. Christ was 'the true regenerator of society . . . our atonement'.59 In 1888 in his autumn address as president of the Baptist Union at Huddersfield he did not refer to positivism explicitly, but some of his phraseology echoes the positivist emphasis on humanity: Questions of social economics take the first rank, not only in the market, but also in the church . . . Man, in his sharply defined and selfish individualism, is being superseded by mankind in cooperative communion and mutual beneficence. The idea of Humanity as a vital organism — itself the creation and gift of the Christ — is in the ascendant instead of that of 1,400,000 of isolated and egoistic units.60

Clifford stated that the solidarity of humanity and the freedom of the individual were vital principles. But since he firmly believed that all social problems were spiritual at heart, he affirmed that 'in all the social crises of life as well as for individual salvation "we preach Christ and Christ crucified"'.61 The Contemporary Review in the late 1870s and early 1880s carried several articles on Comte and Christianity. In 1879 Edward Caird, professor of moral philosophy at Glasgow and later master of Balliol, wrote four articles on the social philosophy and religion of Comte. He rejected Comte's view that theology in general and monotheism in particular tended to dissolve the social bonds. On the contrary the reconciliation between God and the world proclaimed in Christianity went beyond pure monotheism, which 'while it

57. Ibid., p. 364. 58. J.L. Paton, John Brown Paton: A Biography (London, 1914), p. 364. 59. J. Clifford, Jesus Christ and Modern Social Life (Leicester, 1872), pp. 20-26, 29; cf Thompson, 'Nonconformist Social Gospel', pp. 270-71. 60. J. Clifford, 'The New City of God: Or the Primitive Christian Faith as a Social Gospel', Baptist Handbook, 1889 (London, 1889), pp. 67-68. 61. Ibid., p. 78.


Revival and Religion since 1700

awakens a consciousness of the holiness of God, and the sinfulness of the creature, tends to make fear prevail over love, and the sense of separation over the sense of union'. The life and death of Christ displayed 'the idea of the unity of the Divine and the human . . . and the corresponding idea that the individual or natural life must be lost in order to save it': And what was thus directly presented to the heart and the imagination in an individual, was universalized in the writings of St Paul and St John: in other words it was liberated from its peculiar national setting, and used as a key to the general moral history of man.62

The significance of this had only slowly become apparent: the early church had to work out the meaning of the teaching, whilst the medieval church witnessed an unhealthy dualism between secular and spiritual. The modern age was in a position to reconcile the two. So whereas Comte wished to place power in the hands of an intellectual elite (thereby in Caird's view perpetuating the errors of the medieval priesthood), Caird suggested that the distinction between secular and spiritual was essentially irrational. 'So long as man's body and soul are inseparable, it will be impossible to divide the world between Caesar and God; for in one point of view all is Caesar's, and in another all is God's.' In the middle ages two rival despotisms had clashed; but when government ceased to be despotic, the separation between the speculative and the practical classes — 'between the scientific and moral teachers of mankind . . . and the statesmen or administrators who have to discover what immediate changes in the organisation of life have become necessary' — could be overcome without breaking social unity: It is not desirable that the philosopher, or priest, or man of science, should be king — and we may even acknowledge that if he were king he would probably be a very bad one; — on the other hand, it is desirable that he should have his due influence, as the teacher of those general truths out of which all practical improvement must ultimately spring.63

Caird therefore justified Christianity as the fulfilment, rather than the negation, of spiritual development, provided it had social consequences. Caird is rightly regarded as an exponent of philosophical idealism in Britain, so at first sight it is somewhat surprising to find him taking the time to respond to Comte's work. More interesting still was his comment that for T.H. Green, the father of British idealism, 'What is called the "enthusiasm of humanity", or at least a sympathy with great intellectual and political movements, was . . . a primary, and one might almost say an instinctive passion'.64 'The Enthusiasm 62. E. Caird, 'The Social Philosophy and Religion of Comte IV, Contemporary Review, xxvi (Sept. 1879), p. 80. 63. Ibid., p. 90; for more detailed comment on Caird, see Cashdollar, Transformation of Theology, pp. 389-98. 64. A. Seth and R.B. Haldane, Essays in Philosophical Criticism (London, 1883), p. 4.

The Christian Socialist Revival in Britain: A Reappraisal


of Humanity' was the title of a chapter in Sir John Seeley's Ecce Homo (1866), which Charles Gore endorsed as an unrivalled book about the teaching of Jesus as late as 1927.65 Seeley described humanity as 'neither a love for the whole human race, nor a love for each individual of it, but a love for the race, or for the ideal of man, in each individual'.66 His chapter, in the section on Christ's legislation, was important in making the love of Christ the basis for morality. The significance of the shift from Malthus's view of the relative importance of self-love and benevolence is obvious. Seeley's phraseology was a quite self-conscious echo of positivist language. He was also associated with the Christian socialist group in London and, although positivists and Christian socialists agreed in regarding economic competition as immoral, Seeley's criticism of competition as a social ethos rather than as a result of capitalist economics put him firmly on the Christian socialist side.67 Yet the worlds of Seeley and T.H. Green were not so far apart as might be supposed, though one was from Cambridge and the other from Oxford. Both came from evangelical families. Seeley's father was a well-known evangelical publisher, deeply involved in many philanthropic causes, and had written a life of Michael Sadler, the factory reformer.68 Green's father was an evangelical clergyman, though he was much influenced on social questions by his mother's half-brother, David Vaughan, a keen disciple of F.D. Maurice and founder of the Leicester Working Men's College.69 The importance of Green's influence in providing a religious and philosophical basis for social reform in the later nineteenth century has long been recognised. However, the curiosity of his significance for high church Anglicans, whose religion he regarded as diseased is not so often noted. Indeed Green's influence was not confined to Anglicans: Richard Shannon has even said that the focus of Green's 'religious admiration was . . . the "conscience" of Nonconformity'.70 In a letter to R.W. Dale, Green pointed out that the opening of the ancient universities to nonconformists made it important for them to follow their sons 'when you send them here, in order to defend and maintain their religious life and faith', an appeal which eventually resulted in the move of Spring Hill College, Birmingham, to Oxford as Mansfield College in 1886.71 Green influenced Hugh Price Hughes while he was a circuit minister in Oxford between 1881 and 1884. Henry Scott Holland acknowledged Green's evangelical starting-point in his essay on Hughes:

65. C. Gore, Christ and Society (London, 1928), p. 59. 66. J.R. Seeley, Ecce Homo (London, 1908), p. 130. 67. D. Wormell, Sir John Seeley and the Uses of History (Cambridge, 1980), pp. 21-29. 68. G.S.R. Kitson Clark, Churchmen and the Condition of England, 1832-1885 (London, 1973), pp. 234-35; Wormell, Seeley and the Uses of History, p. 12. 69. M. Richter, The Politics of Conscience (London, 1964), pp. 39-43. 70. R.T. Shannon, 'John Robert Seeley and the Idea of a National Church', in R. Robson ed., Ideas and Institutions of Victorian Britain (London, 1967), p. 264. 71. A.W.W. Dale, The Life of R.W. Dale of Birmingham (6th edn, London, 1905), p. 496.


Revival and Religion since 1700

It was his profound Evangelical heart which made all that he had taught us intellectually become spiritual and religious in its effect . . . And again it was Green who identified the interests of this ideal imagination with the common affairs of living men and women; who charged us with the democratic ardour which made him always the active champion of the poor and the preacher of the obligations of citizenship.72

Scott Holland said that the recoil from individualism which had carried him and his friends into the Tractarian movement did the same for Hughes: 'More and more he repudiated the individualism of the old Evangelicals, and began to dream the great dream of a Church which should gather up and reconcile opposing tendencies and intellectual characters, and should blend them into one complex and varied body.'73 This way of putting the matter tends to exaggerate the connection between Green and Scott Holland's Tractarianism. The letters between the two when Scott Holland was moving towards ordination tell a different story. When Gerard Manley Hopkins became a Roman Catholic, Green wrote to Scott Holland that he was vexed to the heart to think of a fine nature being victimised by a system which in my 'historic conscience' I hold to be subversive of the Family and the State, and which puts the service of an exceptional institution, or the saving of the individual soul, in opposition to loyal service to society.74

To Scott Holland's suggestion that some wants of society might only be supplied by institutions of ascetic cooperation, Green responded sharply that monasticism did nothing to organise life and that the real movement of the world had passed it by. It was based on a false antithesis between Church and World, the religious and the secular.75 Green did not expect his 'particular theological nightcap' to fit Scott Holland; but three years later when the latter was ordained he wrote to Green that he felt that all the meaning he could put into his theology and ethics was still the same as ever, only 'the religious form seemed to me to cap it all, and the cap seemed to fit'.76 Perhaps Scott Holland was influenced as much by reading for ordination with Westcott at Peterborough in July 1872 as by his Tractarian leanings.77 Green's reply to Scott Holland picked up the vital move he had made in his own religious thought, not only from his evangelical background, but from the whole eighteenth-century approach to theology. 'The position of

72. H. Scott Holland, A Bundle of Memories (London, 1915), p. 145. 73. Ibid., p. 146; see also W.M. King, 'Hugh Price Hughes and the British "Social Gospel"', Journal of Religious History, xiii, (1984), pp. 69-71. 74. S. Paget, Henry Scott Holland (London 1921), p. 30. 75. Ibid., pp. 30-32. 76. Ibid., p. 63. 77. Ibid., pp. 59-60; A. Westcott, Life of Westcott, i, pp. 310-11.

The Christian Socialist Revival in Britain: A Reappraisal


dogmatic theology', he wrote, 'is that true ideas about God and things spiritual are derived from miraculous events.' Green rejected not the ideas but the miraculous derivation. Scott Holland was one of those, he believed, 'to whom the revelation of God does not rest on miracles, tho' the miracles of our Lord's life seem to you naturally to arise from it'.78 He made the same point at greater length in his lay sermon on 'Faith', when he observed that for neither St John nor St Paul did faith depend on sensible signs: the object of 'practical Christian faith', he wrote, was 'not past events, but a present reconciled and indwelling God'.79 This approach to miracle was typical of the contributors to Lux Mundi, even though it shocked older Tractarians such as Liddon. It should not be confused with the acceptance of biblical criticism, though it made that easier. There is also a hint of the cosmic dimension in Green's theology that recalls the Greek fathers: in another lay sermon he said that The glory of Christianity is not that it excludes, but that it comprehends; not that it came of a sudden into the world, or that it is given complete in a particular institution, or can be stated complete in a particular form of words; but that it is the expression of a common spirit, which is gathering together all things in one.80

Here certainly there may be a clue to Hughes's work for Free Church unity, but it reflects a mood very different from that which led Scott Holland and his Anglo-Catholic friends to take care that the Christian Social Union was confined to Anglicans when they founded it in 1889.81 It is not surprising that Nettleship should have written that Green's religion was 'always of the Protestant and Evangelical type, and . . . for Catholicism or Anglicanism he never had the smallest sympathy'.82 Arnold Toynbee said that for Green 'the ideal self is in fact the God of the Psalms and the Christ of evangelical religion'.83 Richter regarded Green's ethics as a secularised evangelicalism, although he had doubts about the coherence of their theological foundation.84 Green's influence did not, however, depend upon the acceptance of his whole philosophical and religious system. The important point is that Green's influence was religious as well as simply philosophical. Hughes's daughter said that her father regarded Green's ideas as 'the philosophical expression of the good old Methodist doctrine of entire sanctification' and she cited an instance when at a meeting in London he contradicted contemporary maxims such as 78. Paget, Scott Holland, pp. 66-67. 79. T.H. Green, 'Faith', in R.L. Nettleship ed., Works of Thomas Hill Green, 3 vols (London, 1888), iii, p. 263. 80. Green, 'The Witness of God', in Nettleship ed., Works of Thomas Hill Green, iii, pp. 240-41. 81. 'You see how narrow we are!' wrote Scott Holland to Talbot: Paget, Scott Holland, pp. 170-71. 82. Nettleship to Mrs Green, quoted in Richter, Politics of Conscience, p. 89. 83. Ms Introduction to the two Lay Sermons, quoted ibid., p. 129. 84. Ibid., pp. 195-97, 310, 319.


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'Educate, educate, educate' or 'Legislate, legislate, legislate' with the alternative 'Regenerate, regenerate, regenerate'. 'His peculiar regard for Professor Green lay in his character,' she felt, 'more than his ideas'.85 When Mrs Humphry Ward's novel Robert Elsmere was published, Hughes described T.H. Green's teaching as 'the ethics of St John without the theology of St John' and argued trenchantly that this was an impossible position to sustain. Christianity was not just a mental conviction or a hope but a new life.86 Hughes's rejection of the maxim 'Legislate, legislate, legislate' may make it more puzzling that he should be associated with a movement which seemed to imply a greater role for the state than that traditionally associated with nonconformity. Much here depends on the perspective. Contemporary commentators such as Dicey and Cunningham did articulate the issues in terms of state intervention, and this has been normative for subsequent analysis. The alternative view depends on the understanding of the role of law. Eighteenth-century theologians generally had few doubts about the Tightness of the status quo. When Charles Simeon preached on Romans 13:1-7, 'Duty to Civil Governors', he allowed only one exception to the duty of obedience, namely when to obey would be to transgress the commands of God; and he cited the example of Daniel and the three young men who were exonerated for their disobedience to Nebuchadnezzar.87 What happened in the nineteenth century was a reappraisal of what counted as transgressing God's commands. Thus the campaign against slavery stated that laws which permitted slavery were wrong and had to be changed. This approach lay behind various evangelical protest movements. The Bible could now become a force for change. David Bebbington has suggested that the evangelical commitment to social reform was essentially negative, in the sense that it entailed campaigns against particular evils.88 The positive way of putting the point is to say that evangelical nonconformists like Clifford and Hughes (and their mentor, the Anglican, Francis Peek, of the Howard League for Penal Reform) concentrated on putting the nation's laws right. 'The real character of every nation', said Hughes, 'is determined by the character of its laws'; he went on to say that the statute book was 'the national conscience, just as the executive Government is the national will' and it was extremely important to purify the national conscience.89 This was why they tried to change the law, and this was the sense in which there was an increased willingness to contemplate state intervention. They concentrated on 'moral' causes such as the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts, the raising of the age of consent and temperance, but did not hesitate to enter other areas such as hours and conditions of work, and housing.

85. D. Price Hughes, Life of Hughes, pp. 134, 135, 136. 86. H. Price Hughes, Social Christianity, pp. 97, 105, 117. 87. C. Simeon, Horae homileticae (7th edn, London, 1845), xv, no. mdccccxi. 88. D.W. Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain (London, 1989), p. 135. 89. H. Price Hughes, Social Christianity, pp. 139, 141.

The Christian Socialist Revival in Britain: A Reappraisal


The concern for just laws was not, of course, completely new. Those who criticised the established order in the early nineteenth century did so on these grounds, as the sermons of Patrick Brewster of Paisley bear witness. Such criticisms, drawing on the Old Testament prophets and on the Epistle of James, had been made in previous centuries also. But here there is a second important change of emphasis, the use of the Old Testament. When Charles Simeon preached on Deuteronomy 15:7-11, 'The Duty of Charity enforced', at the beginning of the century he argued that the existence of various ranks and orders among men was the necessary consequence of civilisation. Perfect equality was impossible, and even if created it could not last. Inequality was even more conducive to the general good 'not only in that it tends to keep up a due subordination of the lower to the higher classes, but that it binds all the classes of men together by the ties of mutual usefulness and dependence'.90 It is difficult to imagine a sermon today on the law of jubilee which did not mention its redistributive effects! Old Testament criticism changed the understanding of the relation of the Law and the Prophets. In his Yale lectures on 'Modern Criticism and the Preaching of the Old Testament' in 1899 George Adam Smith commented that thirty years before observers had alleged a decrease in the influence of the Old Testament': In the pulpit . . . the uses of the Old Testament were confined to the dogmatic, the apologetic, and the individually ethical. Prophecy was employed for the illustration of dogma, the proof of the Divinity of Christ, and the example of personal religion; but except for the enforcement of Sabbath observance — which, besides, was based on the Law and not on the Prophets — the use made of the social and civic teaching of the Old Testament was very infrequent.91

Smith suggested that the social teaching of Kingsley and Maurice had borne little fruit because it was not sustained by a thorough historical criticism of the prophets, though he noted that Maurice saw the Old Testament 'as the witness of the sacredness of earth' and regarded as paramount 'the duty of vindicating the Old Testament as the great witness for liberty'.92 The revival of interest dated from the work of A.B. Davidson and Robertson Smith. The latter's Prophets of Israel (1882) was published at the time when socialism was sounding its trumpets, and 'although this movement has converted but few to its dogmas, it has assisted to rouse the civic conscience in the Church, and to awaken everywhere a new interest in social questions'.93

90. Simeon, Horae homileticae, ii, no. ccvui, pp. 366-67. 91. G. Adam Smith, Modern Criticism and the Preaching of the Old Testament (London, 1919), pp. 218-19. 92. Ibid., pp. 264-65; F. Maurice, The Life of F.D. Maurice (London, 1884), i, p. 497; ii, p. 490. (Smith omitted the reference for the first quotation, which dates from a letter of 1849 concerning Maurice's sermons on The Prayer Book and the Lord's Prayer (London, 1880), p. 102, whereas the second comes from 1865 at the time of the Colenso affair). 93. Smith, Modern Criticism, p. 222.


Revival and Religion since 1700

Smith drew particular attention to the prophets' recognition of God's hand in the nation's history and 'their strong conscience of their people's sins and civic duties . . . the harder and the more misunderstood half of patriotism'. Four features of the civic preaching of the prophets were particularly relevant to contemporary society: first, their careers coincided with the development of Hebrew society from an agricultural to a commercial and urban one; secondly, they emphasised justice and equity even more than tenderness and pity for the poor; thirdly, religious observances and institutions were enforced for social ends, or with regard to the interests of the poor; and fourthly, individuals were emancipated from a merely natural religion.94 The last point highlighted the shift from Sumner's reconciliation of natural and revealed religion. The emphasis on the social obligations of religion could be, and was, linked by nonconformists to the doctrine of Redemption as well as to the Incarnation. The Scottish Christian Social Union — a more broadly based body than the exclusively Anglican Christian Social Union in England — was launched in April 1901 after J.B. Paton had visited the Rev. David Watson of St Clement's, Glasgow in 1900. In a letter to the inaugural meeting Paton emphasised that the doctrine of redemption was as important as the doctrine of the incarnation in providing a basis for social concern. The redeeming spirit of love, manifested in Christ and given to his followers, meant not only the winning of individual men and women to the obedience and fellowship of Christ, but surrounding them with influences and forming an environment by which their lives may be healthily and nobly developed. The thought of our age has shown us how no individual can live by himself or for himself, and that human society must be charged with influences which will sustain and quicken the individual.95

This pinpoints the theological and sociological shift which took place. The individual is part of a wider society, and indeed a wider environment which society itself shapes. But individual and society have to be balanced. A few years earlier Samuel Keeble, a Wesley an disciple of Hughes, had written: Against Christian Individualism, which demands 'the simple Gospel', Christian Socialism maintains that the Christian Gospel is twofold — individual and social — that the former never has been, and never can be, neglected, but that the latter both has been and is grossly neglected. The social Gospel is as sacred and as indispensable as the individual Gospel — the two are complementary, and the neglect of either always brings its penalties. An impartial study of the Scriptures reveals the fact that in both Testaments the social Gospel is, if anything, the most prominent, and that to ignore the material and social life of men, and the moral condition of classes, communities and states, is the most utter unfaithfulness to the precepts and teachings of the Word of God and the

94. Ibid., pp. 269-70, 272-73. 95. Paton, J.B. Paton, p. 439.

The Christian Socialist Revival in Britain: A Reappraisal


examples of priests, prophets, apostles, evangelists, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.96 Hence Keeble concluded that the Gospel was intended to save society as well as the individual, which involved 'setting up in the earth the Kingdom of Heaven'. The theology of the Kingdom of God was the new element here, although Maurice had emphasised that Christians prayed for the Kingdom to come on earth in the two critical sermons he preached on the Lord's Prayer on 27 February and 5 March 1848 at the time of the French Revolution.97 But Keeble asserted the need for a social as well as an individual gospel. It was a 'both/and' affirmation not an 'either/or'; and this was true for all those who emphasised the social gospel in the late nineteenth century. This gives the lie to the argument of conservative evangelicals since the 1920s that the social gospel entailed a rejection or underestimate of the need for individual conversion. It also explains why there were always hesitations, among those like Clifford who identified themselves with the Fabians, as well as among those like Hughes or Westcott who did not, about any interpretation of socialism which denigrated the significance of the individual. Anglo-Catholics reconciled the twin emphases through their sacramental theology. But the main audience for a new ecclesiastical social concern remained those who in some sense came out of the heritage of the evangelical revival. From this perspective it is only partially helpful to see the movement of 1848—54 as an isolated one, which needed to be revived later. That a new impetus was given to Christian socialism in the 1880s is undeniable, but it did not die in 1854 with the foundation of the Working Men's College. Ludlow and some of his friends remained active in the labour movement throughout. There was a more selfconscious sacramentalism and a more direct interest in Marx, but that is not the whole story. Halevy concluded that 'British individualism is a moderate individualism, a mixture whose constituents are often mingled beyond the possibility of analysis, a compound of Evangelicalism and Utilitarianism'.98 That did not stop a similarly moderate British socialism reacting against the earlier individualism. The first two conclusions of Alexander Pope's 'Essay on Man' — that 'WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT' and that 'true SELF-LOVE and SOCIAL are the same' — were discredited by the Christian socialist revival. Eighteenthcentury theology has gone beyond recall but more recently new defenders of Malthusian theology and political economy have appeared. Perhaps another revival is needed.

96. S.E. Keeble, Industrial Day-Dreams (London, 1896), pp. 62-63. 97. F.D. Maurice, The Prayer Book and the Lord's Prayer, pp. 304-30. 98. E. Halevy, England in 1815, p. 587.

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Hastings Rashdall and the Renewal of Christian Social Ethics, c. 1890-1920 Jane Garnett

In March 1907 Ralph Inge, lately elected Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity in Cambridge, wrote to Hastings Rashdall, then fellow of New College, Oxford, about his plans for the Cambridge post: I am most anxious to help to organise the study of the history and psychology of religion on scientific lines. I am more and more drawn to the scientific way of looking at things, and more and more repelled by the hysterical humanitarianism which offers such dire temptations to an ambitious cleric, with a Radical government in power.1

Inge and Rashdall had become friends as fellows of Hertford College, Oxford, from 1888; both had joined the Anglican Christian Social Union at its foundation in 1889 (Inge only for a few years); both became noted liberal churchmen, committed to an intellectually rigorous approach to the problems of contemporary Christianity, and to the tighter interrelationship of (an idealist) philosophy and (a rational) theology. Yet they came to represent opposite poles in their analyses of the fundamental bases of religious renewal. Inge's Bampton Lectures of 1899 on Christian Mysticism laid the foundation for a lifetime's commitment to the study of Christian mystics and of Platonic and neo-Platonic philosophy. In Cambridge he was to extend his work on Plotinus, who remained for him a central inspiration. Consistently he stressed 'spirituality, miscalled other-worldliness' as the only means of transforming the world. He deplored what he saw as an over-obsession with social ethics, and especially what he saw as the tainting of Christianity with secular politics. For him the Gospel was emphatically not a gospel of social reform, but of spiritual regeneration.2

1. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. d. 361 (1907-9), fos 11-12 r. W.R. Inge to Rashdall, 12 March 1907. 2. W.R. Inge, Personal Idealism and Mysticism (London, 1907; 1913): preface to 2nd edition, p. vii; idem, The Church and the Age (London, 1912); see also A. Fox, Dean Inge (London, 1960).



Revival and Religion since 1700

Rashdall was equally impatient with the brandishing of woolly-minded or sentimental catch-phrases, and was aware of the dangers of churchmen unthinkingly getting swept up in the tide of 'ethical collectivism' which was flowing through English public life in the 1890s and 1900s.3 Religious revival would not be sustained through jumping onto political bandwaggons. But Rashdall passionately affirmed the church's direct intellectual role in shaping moral and social renewal in the world.4 Yet this, he argued, could only be rooted in a reconstructed theology which was both metaphysically plausible and practically engaging. Temperamentally Rashdall had little sympathy with mysticism, but he also regarded it as limited in its practical possibilities for the broad mass of ordinary men and women.5 He felt that Inge's polemical position on social questions (which was to harden increasingly into conviction) unhelpfully bypassed real religious dilemmas.6 Inge and Rashdall remained friends and correspondents. In one sense their approaches complemented each other, and were developed in relation to each other. These two strands were characteristic of religious tendencies at the turn of the century: a revival of interest in Christian mystical writing and works of personal devotion, and a renewed focus on the social implications of Christianity. Whilst Inge was concerned to secure the former from the heresies of transcendentalism, Rashdall's aim was to develop a scientific theology and moral philosophy which would prevent the world-affirming from becoming a secularised humanitarianism. Whilst Rashdall's central role in the development of English Modernism and his contribution to the philosophy of religion have received some recognition,7 the broader working out of his social theology and his commitment to its practical application and apologetic significance have been almost entirely neglected by historians. This neglect is in part the result of preoccupation with the high-church contributions to late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Christian socialism, and indeed of the predominant focus on Christian socialism institutionally conceived.8 Recent studies of political and social philosophy in this period, which have rightly stressed the pervasive influence of idealism, 3. The phrase is Maurice Reckitt's. See M. Reckitt, As It Happened: An Autobiography (London, 1941), p. 245. 4. It seemed particularly important to stress this at a time when there was a revived emphasis on eschatology. See, e.g., H. Rashdall, 'Is Liberal Theology a Failure?', Modern Churchman, i (1911-12), pp. 23-35, at p. 24. 5. H. Rashdall, 'Personality in Recent Philosophy', Church Quarterly Review, xc (1920), pp. 19-50, esp. p. 32; C.C.J. Webb, 'Rashdall as Philosopher and Theologian' in P. Matheson, The Life of Hastings Rashdall (Oxford, 1928), p. 244. 6. See, e.g., W.R. Inge, The Idea of Progress (Oxford, 1920); and Rashdall's response, 'The Idea of Progress' in H. Rashdall, Ideas and Ideals ed. H.D.A. Major, F.L. Cross (Oxford, 1928), pp. 78-84. 7. See, e.g., A.M.G. Stephenson, The Rise and Decline of English Modernism (London, 1984); A.P.F. Sell, The Philosophy of Religion, 1875-1980 (London, 1988). 8. Recent exceptions, which include brief discussion of Rashdall are A.A. Eckbert, 'The Social Thought of the Christian Social Union, 1889-1914' (unpublished Oxford University M.Litt. thesis, 1990); D. Nicholls, Deity and Domination: Images of God and the State in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (London, 1989).

Renewal of Christian Social Ethics, c. 1890-1920


have also emphasised the idealist conviction that metaphysics and the treatment of social and political problems should not be separated.9 But the specific philosophical and theological challenges which the idealist tradition and its philosophical opponents posed for those who wanted to forge a Christian social philosophy have not been their concern. RashdalPs role was as a critic and teacher. It was through his teaching,10 preaching and writing that his influence was felt. He was not a systematiser, nor, because of his independent and, to some, unorthodox views, did he achieve high office in the church. As late as 1909, when he was appointed canon of Hereford, he had received no ecclesiastical recognition at all.11 His last appointment was as dean of Carlisle in 1917. Brought up in a moderate evangelical home, Rashdall had been greatly influenced by 'the breadth of view and absolute honesty' of his headmaster at Harrow, Montagu Butler.12 From him he derived the initial inspiration for the liberal churchmanship which he was to develop. Although Rashdall rejected evangelicalism, he retained the moral seriousness of his upbringing and the combination of wide sympathy and firm churchmanship presented by his parents.13 Orthodoxy remained 'sacred' to him, one of his pupils observed, to a degree which neither irresponsible 'liberals' nor those who use traditional phrases and formulae mechanically could begin to understand . . . his whole life 9. See especially S. den Otter, 'The Search for a "Social Philosophy": The Idealists of late Victorian and Edwardian Britain' (unpublished Oxford University D. Phil, thesis, 1990); cf. J. Harris, 'Political Thought and the Welfare State, 1870-1940: An Intellectual Framework for British Social Policy', Past and Present, 135 (May 1992), pp. 116-41. See H. Rashdall, review of J.S. Mackenzie's Lectures on Humanism, with Special Reference to its Bearings on Sociology (1907), International Journal of Ethics, xviii (1907-8), pp. 246-52, esp. p. 249. 10. After graduating from Oxford, Rashdall was tutor in Lampeter in 1883; in Durham in 1884; fellow of Hertford College, Oxford, 1888-95; chaplain and tutor in Divinity at Balliol, 1894-95; fellow of New College, Oxford, 1895-1917. For biographical details, see P. Matheson, The Life of Hastings Rashdall; obituaries by H.D.A. Major in Modern Churchman [hereafter M.C.] xiii (1923-24), pp. 634-42; and by H.W.B. Joseph in Oxford Magazine, xlii (1923-24), pp. 275-77. 11. In his obituary of Rashdall, Major made the point that the neglect of Rashdall by the church was an indication of the bad state in which the church was, and of its reluctance to recognise intellectual talent. See M.C., xiii (1923-24), p. 638. 12. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng.misc. c.590, fos 101-13. Rashdall maintained close touch with Butler. See, for example, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. e. 134: H.M. Butler, letters to Hastings Rashdall; see also E. Graham, The Harrow Life of Henry Montagu Butler D.D. (London, 1921), especially pp. 307, 333-34, for RashdalPs comments on Butler's liberal and tolerant churchmanship. Rashdall dedicated his volume of sermons, Doctrine and Development (1898) to Butler. 13. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. misc. c.590, fos 101-13. Hastings Rashdall was the eldest child of the Rev. John Rashdall and of Emily nee Hankey (who came from a prominent Clapham evangelical family). Hastings's sister, Agnes commented that their father had much more sympathy with other ways of thinking than the Clapham sect, and used to say that he was 'a High, Broad Evangelical'. John Rashdall had an intense love of church order and worship, from which Hastings derived an appreciation of beautiful ceremonial. His sister felt (probably rightly) that Hastings was never quite fair to evangelicalism, not understanding its spirit (as opposed to its formal theology); certainly he was also somewhat unjust in seeing evangelicalism as having neglected the attempt to develop a real social philosophy. See also Matheson, Rashdall, pp. 3-5.


Revival and Religion since 1700

was a salutary protest alike against the moral limpness which will not commit itself and against the sentimentality into which religion too often dissolves.14

An address which he gave in 1907 on William Law's famous spiritual work, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1729), gave a good indication of his position. Although he saw Law's work as stimulating in its vivid sense of God's presence and in its yearning after communion with Him, and he applauded its skill in stripping away self-deceit, he found it in some respects too ascetic, too little concerned with the challenges of Christian life in the ordinary professions.15 The address culminated in the advice to read Law as 'a great awakener of conscience' and poser of questions, but then to read John Seeley's Ecce Homo (1866) for help in answering them 'on the basis of a broad and enlightened Christianity of the spirit'. Rashdall admired Seeley's work as that of a layman engaged with the intellectual and practical difficulties of modern man, who stressed 'that to carry out Christ's precepts about the brotherhood of man in modern times much more is needed than habits of devotion, personal correctness or austerity of life, charity to individuals among the sick and the poor'. Although Rashdall was to preoccupy himself with philosophical and theological problems which Seeley's initially controversial work had bypassed, and he recognised that by the early 1900s its historical approach was out of date, he maintained its continued inspirational force in asserting a wider sphere of reference for the exercise of Christian devotion: 'no book that I could name does more to translate the Gospel as men like Law understood it into the language of modern life and modern needs'.16 Rashdall's intellectual range was impressive. He produced major works of history, moral philosophy and theology: The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages (1895); The Theory of Good and Evil (1907); and The Idea of the Atonement in Christian Theology (1919). In addition, numerous essays,

14. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. misc. c.590, fol. 89. Haigh to Matheson, 2 November 1926. Haigh had studied with Rashdall at Hereford. 15. H. Rashdall, 'Law's Serious Call' (no. vi in a series on Great Devotional Writers: Lent Addresses at All Saints', Ennismore Gardens — the Church which Inge left to take up his chair in Cambridge), The Layman, iii (28 March 1907), pp. 433-36. Rashdall compared Law's work favourably with Thomas a Kempis's Imitation of Christ, which he found too introspective and 'marred by its monastic spirit', but he also felt that Law's approach was too individualistic to be wholly helpful. 16. J.R. Seeley's Ecce Homo was first published anonymously in 1866, and was controversial for dwelling too much on Christ as a moral reformer. Rashdall cited a passage from Chap, xvii, 'The Laws of Philanthropy' to illustrate Seeley's stress on the developing nature of moral responsibility: the Gospel precepts of philanthropy, taken literally, are insufficient, and their spirit must be understood in the wider modern context of social responsibility and greater potential for the prevention of social ills. See Ecce Homo (London, 1866), pp. 191-203, especially p. 201. Rashdall was still recommending Ecce Homo in 1922 as a work of spiritual value. Charles Gore, also a Harrovian pupil of Butler, and also a promoter of an incarnationalist social philosophy within the Christian Social Union, from a 'liberal catholic' perspective, felt equally positively about Ecce Homo. Matheson, Rashdall, p. 216; P. Avis, Gore: Construction and Conflict (Worthing, 1988), p. 90; J. Carpenter, Gore: A Study in Liberal Catholic Thought (Leighton Buzzard, 1960), pp. 146-47n.

Renewal of Christian Social Ethics, c. 1890-1920


lectures, articles and sermons were published in a range of periodicals, and many were collected in book form. His first major endeavour was historical, and the historical perspective continued to give a distinctive cast to his mode of argument and of interpretation. He always paid attention to the context of ideas and gave weight to mixtures of motive and to the practical difficulties of making moral decisions. These preoccupations informed his work on the executive committee of the Christian Social Union (C.S.U.) and as editor of and contributor to the Economic Review from 1892 to 1910,17 in the same way as they underpinned his academic work. His work on medieval universities focused on the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, significantly a period of revived incarnationalism and natural philosophy. He had less sympathy with the late fourteenth- and fifteenth-century world of Thomas a Kempis and revived Augustinianism, which seemed to him to signify an excessive pessimism about this-worldly potentialities. Peter Abelard was a major inspiration. Abelard's stress on the exemplary aspects of the Incarnation and the Crucifixion was to inform Rashdall's theology (especially his Bampton Lectures on the Atonement). The structure of Abelard's Sic et Non — the setting side by side of apparently contradictory texts from the Bible, the Fathers and occasional pagan philosophers, not to undermine the credibility of tradition but to demonstrate and to explore the significance of the context in which words were used — found echoes in Rashdall's intellectual approach. Abelard, who was himself much preoccupied by practical moral and social problems, emphasised that solutions of difficult problems would come not by the invocation of abstract principle, but by methodical consideration of circumstances in common experience. Rashdall was inspired by Abelard's emphasis on the persuasive powers of reason. It does not give a truer picture of the divine mysteries than faith, but it may be more widely convincing: very few men are spiritual, but almost all are capable of thought.18 This reason itself was not disembodied or abstract: it operated in a tradition, and yet was consistently critical of it.19

17. Rashdail took part regularly in C.S.U. discussions. His biographer cited John Carter's comment that 'His well balanced mind was of great service in criticizing and revising the leaflets issued by the C.S.U. on such subjects as Investments, Christianity and Wages, Rights (of the State Church and Individuals)'. Matheson, Rashdall, p. 58. 18. See H. Rashdall, 'The Abelardian Doctrine of the Atonement' (preached in 1892), Doctrine and Development (London, 1898), p. 143ff; idem, The Idea of the Atonement in Christian Theology (London, 1919); idem, 'Note on Medieval Theology', Oxford Society of Historical Theology: Abstract of Proceedings for 1892-3, pp. 16-22; Major, obituary, M.C., xiii (1923-4), p. 636: 'After T.H. Green and Henry Sidgwick, those who influenced him most were Peter Abelard, Joseph Butler and Bishop Berkeley, and to these must be added St Thomas Aquinas and Plato.' On Abelard, see J. Marenbon, Early Medieval Philosophy, 480-1150: An Introduction (London, 1983), p. 144; D. Knowles, The Evolution of Medieval Thought (2nd edn., London, 1988), pp. 111-18; D. Luscombe, ed., Peter Abelard's Ethics (Oxford, 1971). 19. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. c.346 (1903-4), fos 184-87. Augustus Jessopp to Rashdall, 21 October 1904: 'If such a man as you would indeed . . . write a new Sic et Non\ . . . I am convinced as you can be that "the essence of Christianity cannot be compressed into a formula".'


Revival and Religion since 1700

In a sermon on 'Religion and History' preached and published in 1907, Rashdall made several important distinctions. He stressed that it was axiomatic that Christ's moral and religious teaching must be accepted because it is confirmed by the conscience and reason of the present, but that this truth could easily be perverted into an untenable subjectivism, a limited and overemotional view of religious experience.20 He pointed out that it is not the unaided moral or religious insight of the average man to which we appeal: any more than in matters of ordinary scientific truth we suppose the ordinary man would be likely to rediscover the law of gravitation, if the works of Newton, and the whole stream of tradition which we owe to Newton, were to sink into oblivion . . .

The religious consciousness of the present is nurtured and sustained by the great achievements of the religious consciousness in the past. Moreover, the influence of Christ is in a very particular way inseparable from the historicity of His personality, the fact of His incarnation. Thus any philosophical approach which tried to present Christianity without an emphasis on the historical person of Christ fatally undermined the basis of religious conviction. What was required was discussion of the historical Christ and the Christian tradition in a modern intellectual context, and the exploration of the implications of this for moral philosophy.21 Two broad philosophical tendencies — towards psychological subjectivism and towards absolute idealism — seemed to Rashdall to be the most in need of sustained challenge after the turn of the century. In many ways the forms of materialism or naturalism against which idealism had reacted in the second half of the nineteenth century seemed increasingly to be less of a threat to the belief in a purposive universe which was fundamental to theism.22 Certainly the new realism (represented especially after c. 1903 by Bertrand Russell) was beginning to challenge this ideological assumption, but by definition did not engage specifically in issues of the relation between philosophy and theology and thus to Rashdall seemed at this point less subversive. T.H. Green's emphasis on the practical necessity of philosophy and the relevance of moral philosophy to moral action (which the realists denied)23 continued broadly to be sustained, and with particular vigour by someone of Rashdall's specific theistic outlook. 20. As he felt some Ritschlian theologians in Germany had done. See, e.g., H. Rashdall, 'Ritschlianism', Liberal Churchman, i (1904), pp. 19-43. 21. Idem, 'Religion and History', Liberal Churchman, iii (1907), pp. 11-29, especially pp. 14, 12, 15. 22. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ripon MSS (hereafter Ripon MSS), box 105, H. Rashdall, 'Purpose', typescript of paper given to Liverpool Philosophical Society, 1914; Lyceum Club, 1915, p. 7; cf. box 120, draft review of L.T. Hobhouse, Development and Purpose (1913); cf. H. Rashdall, 'The Problem of Evil' in The Faith and the War, ed. F.J. Foakes-Jackson (London, 1915), pp. 79-80. 23. See R.G. Collingwood, An Autobiography (Oxford, 1939), pp. 47-50, which deplored this influence of the realists (amongst whom he specified Cook Wilson, Prichard, Moore and continued

Renewal of Christian Social Ethics, c. 1890-1920


Green was one of RashdalPs first philosophical mentors, but in fact Rashdall never subscribed wholeheartedly to Green's position and always felt that Green's conception of divine immanence was deeply flawed, and that there was a logical and psychological hiatus between his ethical and his metaphysical systems.24 Rashdall's moral philosophy, which he described as 'Ideal Utilitarianism', represented an attempt to draw on the strengths of both Green and Henry Sidgwick. In modifying Green, he introduced the criterion of consequence in assessing the Tightness of actions, and yet denied the utilitarian position that the value of consequence depends on pleasure or pain.25 In forging this position, he owed much to Joseph Butler,26 as well as to Lotze's critique of Hegelianism.27 Rashdall came to react more forcefully against the absolute idealism which he saw being developed by Herbert Bradley and Bernard Bosanquet. Although Bosanquet attempted to modify some aspects of Bradley's transcendentalism,28 Rashdall was concerned that their mutual approach, which lowered the philosophical status of personality, denying the force of separate identity, and which gave little significance to history, was pernicious. It offered few safeguards against pantheism, and failed entirely to deal with the problem of evil in the world.29 Even a firm theist like Inge, who was not an immanentist, fell, in Rashdall's view, into some of the continued Russell), and argued that the inference which was drawn was that one could not look to thinkers for ideas by which to live. He exaggerated the degree to which philosophy was generally put forward 'as a parlour game' on the eve of the First World War. 24. See A.E. Taylor, 'Some Features of Butler's ethics' (1926), in his Philosophical Studies (London, 1934), p. 292. Cf. Ripon MSS, box 105, H. Rashdall, 'Kant and after Kant', typescript, pp. 18-19. Rashdall commented on the distinction between both Green's and Bosanquet's personal earnestness and practical commitment to moral action, and their failure to make satisfactory links between their ethical and metaphysical systems. See The Theory of Good and Evil, ii, p. 204; M.C., xi, p. 36. Cf. Bodleian Library, MS. Eng. lett. c.349, fol 125 v. A.E. Taylor to Rashdall, 20 November 1918: 'I find your book very useful just now in working up lectures about Green's Prolegomena . . . What a nuisance the bad metaphysics is! He seems to be perpetually cutting short the discussion of real ethical points to drag in the eternally wearisome "eternal self".' 25. See H. Rashdall, The Theory of Good and Evil, 2 vols (1907; 2nd edn, Oxford, 1924). 26. For a fuller discussion of Butler's influence on Rashdall, see J. Garnett, 'Bishop Butler and the Zeitgeist: Butler and the Development of Christian Moral Philosophy in Victorian Britain' in Joseph Butler's Moral and Religious Thought: Tercentenary Essays, ed. C.J. Cunliffe (Oxford, 1992), pp. 63-96, especially, pp. 84-88. 27. Hermann Lotze (1817-81), professor of philosophy at Gottingen, whose Microcosmus (3 vols, Gottingen 1856-64) was translated into English in 1885. In many respects, RashdalPs work also found affinities with that of the Scottish philosopher Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison (1856-1931), himself a pupil of Lotze, and author of Hegelianism and Personality (1887). Pringle-Pattison's Gifford Lectures for 1912-13, The Idea of God in the Light of Recent Philosophy (1917) incorporated a critique of Rashdall's position on the infinity of God, in which Rashdall felt that Pringle-Pattison had blunted what he held to be their common point of opposition to the conception of God as the Absolute. See H. Rashdall, 'The Religious Philosophy of Professor Pringle-Pattison', Mind, n.s., xxvii (1918), pp. 261-83; A.S. Pringle-Pattison, 'The Idea of God: A Reply to Some Criticisms', ibid, xxviii (1919), pp. 1-18. 28. For detailed discussion of Bosanquet, see S. den Otter, 'The Search for a "Social Philosophy"' (above n.9), passim. See also on Bosanquet, Green and Bradley P.P. Nicholson, The Political Philosophy of the British Idealists: Selected Studies (Cambridge, 1990). 29. H. Rashdall, 'Spiritual Theism', in Doctrine and Development, pp. 6-13.


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traps laid by this way of thinking, avoiding the difficult questions involved in the relation between subject and object, self and not-self, and failing to take account of any of the distinctions assumed in all ordinary thinking about personality.30 Rashdall was convinced that, although one could never attain a total knowledge of God, one had to approach Him through analogy with humanity, which knows nothing of an impersonal mind.31 Inge also followed a philosophically absolutist line in denying the absolute existence of evil,32 which seemed to Rashdall to have no convincing explanatory force. Rashdall observed that the problem of how to reconcile the existence of evil with the goodness of God whom we nevertheless call omnipotent is one of the few speculative difficulties acutely felt by the unspeculative.33 His own developed response to this was to come in The Theory of Good and Evil (1907), which elaborated his conception of God as personal and limited in power.34 In support of this controversial position, he cited Aquinas, who defined omnipotence as the power of doing all possible things. Rashdall frequently asserted his conviction that this view supplies us with a much more stimulating view of the Universe than the common popular notion of a God who could cause all the good without the evil, but simply does not choose to do so. The notion that God can do all things, and that therefore what we do or do not do cannot in the long run matter very much, has been, I believe, a fruitful cause of moral indifference and social apathy.35

In the world there is a real warfare with a real evil, and we work with God to combat it. In 1902, Rashdall contributed an essay on 'Personality, Human and Divine' to a volume edited by Henry Sturt, Personal Idealism. The book grew out of discussions in the Oxford Philosophical Society from 1898 and from reservations about absolutism. It was aimed at demonstrating that 'the current antithesis between spiritual philosophy and empiricism was throughly mischievous', and at proposing a viable alternative: 'empirical idealism'.36 In 30. Idem, 'Personality in Recent Philosophy', Church Quarterly Review, xc (1920), pp. 19-50, especially pp. 25-29. 31. Idem, The Moral Argument for Personal Immortality', in King's College Lectures on Immortality ed. W.R. Matthews (London, 1920), pp. 77-121, at pp. 79-80. Cf. Rashdall's use of the analogy between morality and mathematics or science: 'the possibility of inadequacy and such error as may be involved in inadequacy, does not justify the position that science itself possesses a merely relative or subjective or human or phenomenal validity'; The Theory of Good and Evil, ii, p. 232. Cf. idem, 'Theism or Pantheism' (preached in Wadham College Chapel, Oxford to members of the Churchmen's Union Conference in 1916), M.C., vi (1916-17), pp. 395-404, at pp. 401-03. 32. W.R. Inge, Personal Idealism and Mysticism (1st edn, 1907), p. 153. 33. Ripon MSS, box 107, H. Rashdall, 'The Problem of Evil, i, Theory', preached at Lincoln's Inn, 1902. 34. Idem, The Theory of Good and Evil, ii, pp. 214-15; 237-42. 35. Idem, 'The Problem of Evil', in The Faith and the War, pp. 94-99. 36. H. Sturt (ed.), Personal Idealism: Philosophical Essays by Eight Members of the University of Oxford (London, 1902), introduction.

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some ways Rashdall was the contributor who was most impressively to sustain the fine balance of this aspiration. Another contributor was Frederick Schiller, who was to carry his experientialism into a form of pragmatism which Rashdall saw as being as unsatisfactory as absolutism.37 It was ironic that in his critique of the volume, Inge described the essayists en bloc as pragmatists.38 Rashdall was in fact extremely effective in attacking pragmatism, and in pointing out the dangerous relativism of the increasingly fashionable reference to the psychology of religious experience: When religious people let themselves talk about dismissing logic or metaphysic as the obsolete obsession of an older world, and appeal to psychology as the new, up-to-date science which is going to place religion upon an unassailable foundation, they forget that psychology has got nothing to do with the truth of religious beliefs.39

He was adamant that there was no such thing as a strictly immediate knowledge of God's existence: all ideas about God involved a considerable element of inference, however unconscious that might be. Hence the notion that one could construct a religion independent of metaphysics was a delusion.40 Rashdall believed implicitly that if Christian theology were to disappear as an effective force in moulding men's minds, Christian morality would not remain beyond the reach of criticism. In his view, this needed to be spelled out. People were too inclined to believe that religious differences related wholly to theology, whilst morality was a matter about which all decent people were substantially agreed.41 This misapprehension could conduce to a general susceptibility to read eternal moral truths straightforwardly into the philosophical pieties of the moment — self-realisation, self-development, the 'common good' — without thinking through what they actually meant. By the same token it could lead to subscription to isolated principles drawn from scriptural authority without examination of the circumstances in which different 'goods' might cut across each other. This was the context in which Rashdall, together with Charles Gore and others in the C.S.U. argued for the development of a new Christian casuistry.42 The C.S.U. had been founded in order to forge — through detailed study of specific social issues — an

37. Ripon MSS, box 105, H. Rashdall, 'Pragmatism', pp. 3, 9, 14. 38. Inge, Personal Idealism and Mysticism preface. This was not in fact unjust to the general thrust of the essays. See also Oxford Magazine, xxi (1902-3), pp. 121-23: anonymous review of the volume. 39. H. Rashdall, 'The Validity of Religious Experience', MC, viii (1918-19), pp. 302-15, 303; cf. Ripon MSS, box 105, 'Pragmatism'; cf. Rashdall's criticism of Percy Gardner on this point: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. c.55, fos 283-86 v. Rashdall to Gardner, July 17 1923; Matheson, Rashdall, p. 119. 40. H. Rashdall, 'The Validity of Religious Experience', p. 310; cf. idem, Doctrine and Development, preface, p. xii. 41. Ripon MSS, box 108, H. Rashdall, sermon on I Corinthians 12:14, pp. 1-2. 42. See Economic Review [hereafter Ec.R.], ii (1892), p. 147; iii (1893), p. 139.


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approach to a more effective social Christianity. Rashdall had a sharper eye for distinctions than Gore,43 and was also concerned to broaden the significance of this casuistry beyond the ecclesiastical position which Gore represented. The first critical problem which Rashdall confronted was that presented by the absolute idealists. Green's stress on the primacy of good motive and the identification of a truly 'good will' with the common good had effectively denied the validity of genuine moral perplexity.44 Bradley had also written in these terms, and had fiercely attacked casuistry, in a way which ignored the degree to which codes of ethics had developed out of a process of continuous reasoning on matters of conduct. As Rashdall stressed, 'ethical development has been the gradual reasoning out of the logical consequences of an ethical principle already admitted'.45 Bradley's polemical position had been established in the particular context of combating Mill's utilitarianism, so that in some ways it was unfair of Rashdall to castigate him so hard. But Rashdall was justified in feeling that both Green's and Bradley's positions were still subscribed to, and that both failed satisfactorily to deal with real ethical dilemmas. Against Bradley's assertion of the self-contradictions of our moral judgement, and his definition of self-realisation, Rashdall asserted that there was a necessary balance between self-sacrifice and self-assertion: both are good, but in particular circumstances both will not be the best course to follow, and it is possible to argue rationally about what is the right course. The role of casuistry, which of course had its limits, was in offering assistance in training moral judgement.46 Christian critics of the church's involvement in the debate on social ethics were particularly prone to use biblical or historical references without attention to context or to the principle of development. Rashdall devoted considerable effort to exposing the fallacies of this approach. In 1894 Hensley Henson wrote an anonymous review, 'The New Christian Socialism', which attacked the C.S.U. in similar terms to those which Inge was to use. Henson argued

43. See Carpenter, Gore, pp. 211-12. 44. Cf. H. Rashdall, 'Self and Neighbour', M.C., xi (1921-22), pp. 35-39. P.P. Nicholson defends Green's position on this in his The Political Philosophy of the British Idealists, pp. 71-80. Rashdall felt that Bosanquet's idealism was also anti-ethical in the sense that he neglected the problem of making an individual pursue his own good, and yet represented that good as something which is not purely personal but common. The influence of Rousseau, exacerbated by an identification of 'Plato' with the Republic (the main Platonic text which Greats men in Oxford studied) had helped to conduce to this emphasis. See also A.E. Taylor, review of E. Barker, Greek Political Theory: Plato and his Predecessors (1918) in Mind, xxviii (1919), pp. 347-50; cf. C.C.J. Webb, A Study of Religious Thought in England from 1850 (Oxford, 1933), pp. 144-46. See also n. 53 below. 45. F.H. Bradley, Ethical Studies (1876; Oxford, 1962 edn), especially pp. 162-63; 230. Cf. A.E. Taylor, 'Self-Realization: A Criticism', International Journal of Ethics, vi (1895-96), pp. 356-71, at p. 362; W. Moberly, review of Rashdall's The Theory of Good and Evil, Ec.R., xvii (1907), pp. 480-87; H. Rashdall, 'The Limits of Casuistry', International Journal of Ethics, iv (1894), pp. 459-69, especially p. 463. 46. H. Rashdall, The Theory of Good and Evil, ii, chaps. 3, 5. Cf. A.E. Taylor, 'SelfRealization: A Criticism', pp. 362, 368.

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that the C.S.U. was 'diverting to the service of secular undertakings a great organisation which owed its existence and its influence to faith in the life eternal'. He accused the C.S.U. of linking the Church of England with the New Unionism and pledging the support of historic Christianity to the cause of state socialism. He suggested that the goal of a moral influence on economics was fundamentally misconceived: moral laws and economic laws operated in separate spheres. He claimed that to urge the clergy to study social and economic problems was to distract them from their 'proper duties' of being 'diligent in the reading of the Holy Scriptures'. 'The besetting sin of modern civilisation is its contempt for the highest aspects and ends of life: its enthusiasms are "of the earth, earthy"; and being itself grossly materialised, it covets a religion conformed to the same material type.' Finally he attacked Gore's plea for a new Christian casuistry, arguing that casuistry discouraged the independent exercise of the individual conscience, and that in any case normal issues of political and industrial conflict were morally neutral.47 The next issue of the Economic Review contained a sustained response to this attack in a trio of articles led by Rashdall. Rashdall pointed out how muddled the reviewer's outlook was: I do not envy the historical imagination of the critic who supposes that Christianity would have been the regenerative influence that it has been if its ministers had confined themselves to preaching an abstract theology, on the one hand, and on the other a vague sentiment, labelled 'Christian morality'.

He also stressed that there was an important distinction between saying that particular ethical pronouncements of particular Christian writers might be mistaken, and saying that they should not have been proffered in the first place. 'Non-interference is not possible. To be silent is to take a side.' The naive distinction between ethics and politics, the assumption that a lively interest in posthumous compensation is 'spiritual', while the duties of the man and of the citizen are 'of the earth, earthy', the treatment of conscience as a sort of ... deus ex machina which needs neither instruction nor education . . . these are some of the familiar indications of a mind wholly unversed in the most elementary principles, whether of moral philosophy or of moral theology . . ,48

The aim of applied morality was precisely to stimulate the conscience and reason of the individual, not to limit it. The other two articles developed specific criticisms of the Quarterly reviewer's ignorance of the degree to which modern economic theory

47. [H. Henson], The New Christian Socialism', Quarterly Review, 357 (July 1894), pp. 1-26, at pp. 1, 3, 6, 13-16, 22. For further comment on Henson's opposition to Christian Socialism, see S. Mayor, The Churches and the Labour Movement (London, 1967), p. 207. 48. H. Rashdall, 'The New Casuistry', in 'The "Quarterly Review" and "The New Christian Socialism" F, Ec.R., v (1895), pp. 82-94, at pp. 85-86, 92.


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(specifically Marshall's) itself incorporated consideration of ethical factors.49 John Carter pointed out that in conditions of modern competition it was becoming more and more difficult for the honourable employer to maintain his position. Hence the need both for a more detailed assault on public opinion and also for practical initiatives like the Oxford 'white list' publicising upright tradespeople.50 A further review critical of the C.S.U. followed in the Church Quarterly Review, which made similar points to Henson's and accused Christian socialism in general of 'nebulous thinking . . . emotion feebly directed by reason or faith'.51 V.H. Stanton from the Cambridge branch of the C.S.U., who was invited to respond in the Economic Review, made similar points to RashdalPs, glossing them with the very practical detail that there was reason to believe that people were being held back from holy communion by fear that some of their business practices made participation in communion impossible.52 Rashdall followed up this response to criticism of the C.S.U. by an important series of lectures to the London C.S.U. which were published as articles in the Economic Review for 1896 and in pamphlet form. 'The Rights of the State', 'The Rights of the Church' and 'The Rights of the Individual' established his general principle that moral judgements must rest not on a priori justifications, but on the whole social context of action. These lectures aimed to provide an important framework for C.S.U. activity, and to begin to analyse the criteria by which to define the parameters of the good life. In the piece on the state he set out to vindicate an 'ideal utilitarian' approach to the duty of political obedience, and to examine critically the forms in which social contract theory lived on under cover of generalisations about the general will, the social organism: The social organism . . . threatens to become as unintelligible a catchword as the rights of man. The idea is true enough in its way, but the phrase is in danger of serving as a mere substitute for thought . . . Merely to tell a man that he is a part of the social organism supplies him with no reason for becoming a martyr or even a decently good citizen.53

He proceeded to argue that the only tenable view is that which bases political obligation in the end which government serves — that end not of course being pleasure alone (although with Aristotle and Aquinas he believed pleasure to

49. T.C. Fry, 'The Duty of Christians as Such', ibid., v (1895), pp. 95-103, at p. 98. 50. J. Carter, 'Exclusive Dealing', ibid., v (1895), pp. 104-9. 51. Anon., 'Socialism and the "Christian Social Union"', Church Quarterly Review, xl (1895), pp. 321-45, at p. 326. 52. V.H. Stanton, 'The Church Quarterly Review on the Christian Social Union', Ec.R., v (1895), pp. 516-37, at pp. 528-59. 53. H. Rashdall, 'The Rights of the State', ibid., vi (1896), pp. 59-75, at pp. 64-65. Cf. Rashdall's criticism of Bosanquet on the General Will, ibid., vi (1896), p. 122; ibid., ix (1899), pp. 543-6; cf. above n. 44.

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be a part of human good), but also intellectual activity, goodness, and virtue 'which for the Christian may be identified with love in its highest and widest sense'. If religion has any effect on man's life (and it must be recognised to have some), and thus from one point of view is part of the good life, then the state cannot be indifferent to it, although this does not prescribe any particular relationship between church and state, nor a particular state attitude towards morality, education, social organisation. These questions must be dealt with through a combination of specific experience and accumulated knowledge of the workings of human nature.54 In the lecture on the church, he argued for the absolute impossibility of separating church from state by dividing life into mutually exclusive spheres. Church and state were two instruments for the promotion of the same end. But at the same time he refuted what he termed 'Erastian Arnoldian or Papal State' views of church and state, on the fundamental ground that it is of the essence of the state to be compulsive and of the church(es) to be voluntary. He used the example of education to illustrate the fallacy of exclusive subscription to one a priori principle. 'The real interests of education, i.e. of the state itself, must not be sacrificed either to the theoretical claims of the state or to theoretical principles of religious equality.' He used this argument consistently to argue for non-denominational education as providing the greatest good for church and state. A variety of questions was coming to the fore concerning the comparative merits of voluntary association and of state interference in relation to issues such as the relief of the poor, the management of hospitals. Again, to fall into abstraction was unhelpful. The undertaking of duties by the state did not imply their abandonment by the church. At the same time, the success of the state would always depend on the encouragement of voluntary cooperation among its citizens. In this sense the popular polarity of individualism against collectivism was particularly false.55 The individual's rights in relation to the state Rashdall defined as the right to life (except in certain restricted circumstances), and equality of consideration. He explored the impracticality of the attractive concept of equality of opportunity, on the grounds that there is a danger of equalising one set of conditions without equalising the rest. For example, the extension of educational opportunities should to some extent keep pace with the extension of the professional opportunities which lay beyond them. The state itself rests on the development of individual character, so that state action which leads to the extinction of this is to be deplored. Yet, of course, for the state to do for people things that they cannot do for themselves can have no demoralising effect whatsoever.56

54. Idem, 'The Rights of the State', pp. 67-73. 55. Idem, 'The Rights of the Church', Ec.R., vi (1896), pp. 166-82; cf. idem, 'Christian Citizenship', The Churchman 3 March 1900. 56. Idem, The Rights of the Individual', Ec.R., vi (1896), pp. 317-33.


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In this series of lectures, Rashdall did not draw on any specific scriptural or patristic authority, but concentrated on pointing out the intrinsic fuzziness of some popular political and social phraseology. Similarly his essay on 'The Philosophical Theory of Property', in the celebrated volume on Property edited by Charles Gore, ran systematically through theories of property from Aristotle to Bosanquet, pointing out the historical limitations of each. He argued convincingly that in fact recent arguments between socialists and their critics ultimately rested on a difference of utilitarian criterion. That is, the question had simply been which system had the greatest tendency to promote the public good. It was not a question of competing absolutes. Characteristically he concluded with a criticism of Bosanquet's critique of socialism: 'We cannot justify the whole capitalist system en bloc by the bare formula that property is necessary to the development of individual character.'57 In other cases he directed his attention to what he saw as the illegitimate and intellectually futile propensity to look for Christian proof-tests to support particular positions, instead of recognising that the real meaning of an ethical formula can only be discovered from its context, which is a developing one.58 In a discussion of the spiritual independence of the church in 1917, he referred to attempts to invoke either the authority of the Apostolic Church, or 'pseudo-philosophical theory about societies being personalities' (a reference to the German jurist Gierke) as being equally unhistorical.59 In an undated sermon on 'The Labourers in the Vineyard and their Wages' (Matthew 20: 12-16), he discussed a book, The Diary of a Churchgoer (published in 1904), which had appeared anonymously and was supposed to be the work of a well-known politician and economist. Its author had expressed difficulty with this parable. Rashdall was at pains to point out that the problem lay in pressing the analogy further than was intended. A system could not be established to pay men on these principles (although there had — quite rightly — been a recognition in the Insurance Bill of the responsibility of employers to pay towards the support of men out of work through no fault of their own). But Christ was here not thinking of political economy, or questions of work and wages. The point of the parable is that God will not reward men in proportion to the quantity of good works accumulated in their lifetime.60 Most specifically, Rashdall deplored the unhistorical attempts to root arguments for socialism in the Gospels. In 1908 the issue came to a head within the ranks of the C.S.U., when William Temple, in a passionate but blurred

57. Idem, 'The Philosophical Theory of Property', in Property: its Rights and Duties, Historically, Philosophically and Religiously Regarded, ed. C. Gore (London, 1913), pp. 35-64; cf. Ec.R., vi (1896), p. 121. 58. H. Rashdall, Conscience and Christ: Six Lectures on Christian Ethics (London, 1916), p. 209ff. 59. Idem, 'The Spiritual Independence of the Church, M.C., vii (1917-18), pp. 331-44, at p. 337. 60. Ripon MSS, box 109, H. Rashdall, 'The Labourers in the Vineyard and their Wages', pp. 1-4.

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essay, argued that 'there is no middle path between the acceptance of socialism and the declaration that the gospel cannot be applied to economics'.61 Temple was well-intentioned, but unsystematic and unhistorical in his thinking.62 By this point, as Inge had observed, the wheel seemed to have come full-circle. Whereas in the mid 1890s the notion that a Christian could also be a socialist was controversial, now the proposition that 'A Christian may be a Non-Socialist' seemed in need of defence. RashdalPs ground of argument was consistent with his previous position: that to argue for the absolute identification of Christianity and thoroughgoing socialism was theoretically confusing, whether one approached the matter from the point of view of a convinced socialist or otherwise. A Christian could take either side in this controversy, without ceasing to be a Christian. It was wildly unhistorical to identify the Gospel with any particular form of social organisation. He also argued against Temple's proposition that one should aim for a state of society in which everyone was exclusively influenced by altruistic motives. Rashdall held this to be an ethical mistake, citing Butler in support of the position that it was not self-love but exclusive or excessive self-love which was bad. Moreover there were human desires which came neither under the simple heading of egoism nor that of altruism: love of knowledge and beauty, for example, or the desire to follow particular plans of our own, which, although its indulgence might be socially useful, was not the same as the simple desire to add to the sum of human good.63 Practically, he deplored Temple's position on the ground that it simply played into the hands of those like Henson (and Inge) who resisted all attempts to alter social arrangements on the grounds of Christian ethics. It undercut the avowed non-partisanship of the C.S.U. (which was already coming under strain), and threatened to blur the general significance of the sorts of argument which Rashdall had been putting forward.64 Rashdall was concerned that loose ethical and political teaching had serious social and political consequences and that the sorts of distinctions which he felt were fundamental to a rigorous moral philosophy needed wider dissemination. The First World War brought issues of the relationship between the individual and the state into sharp focus, and the issue of conscientious objection offered

61. W. Temple, 'The Church and the Labour Party', Ec.R., xviii (1908), pp. 190-201, at p. 199. 62. Cf. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. c.349 (1917-19), fol 120. H.D.A. Major to Rashdall (18 February 1918) for a later comment to this effect on Temple. For Major's commendation of RashdalPs response to Temple in 1908, see Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. c.361, fos 145-46; 3 July 1909. See also M.C., viii (1918-19), p. 212. 63. H. Rashdall, 'Is the Christian Necessarily a Socialist?', Ec.R., xviii (1908), pp. 315-36, at pp. 321, 325ff. See also idem, 'The Christian Doctrine of Property', supplement to Oxford Magazine, xii, no. 7 (1893), pp. 2—4. 64. H. Rashdall, 'Is the Christian Necessarily a Socialist?', p. 336; cf. editorial criticism of Henson in Ec.R., xviii (1908), p. 129. Henson had written to the Times denouncing the C.S.U. because some of its members had signed a Socialist Manifesto. See A.A. Eckbert, 'The Social Thought of the Christian Social Union', p. 138 for discussion of this; and ibid., ch. 5 for the context of tensions within the C.S.U. over Christianity and Socialism.


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Rashdall a perfect illustration of the practical significance of the guidance of moral philosophy. This was an issue on which it was clear that there was no consensus as to what was right. To Rashdall it exposed vividly the failures to assess the criteria of moral action in context, and highlighted the excessive resort to individualistic self-justifications.65 Rashdall hoped that the war would give greater impetus to the means of religious and moral renewal on which he had consistently laid stress. It raised the question of the existence of evil with a new clarity. It brought greater self-examination on the part of the church as to its failures in the years before the war and its potential role in national renewal.66 For Rashdall and others in the Churchmen's Union,67 the launching of the National Mission in 1916 exemplified the failure of the church to recognise that it needed to reform itself before it could hope to achieve revival.68 The relative failure of the mission helped to drive this point home, and the archbishops' committees of inquiry — especially the fifth on Christianity and Industrial Problems — began to incorporate some of the emphases which had long been promoted within the Churchmen's Union and the C.S.U.69 One of the most important, which Rashdall felt was still not given sufficient place, had been the reform of clerical training. This was the prerequisite to the establishment of an integrated relationship between a plausible metaphysics, a reasonable theology and an effective social ethics. Rashdall had never had any sympathy with 'that view of the clerical office which would turn the clergyman into a sort of miscellaneous civil servant, or superior sanitary inspector . . . or into a mere paid agitator or socialistic demagogue'. But he argued that in order to place their spiritual functions in the forefront of their work, the clergy needed a proper theological education, and a wider and more philosophical view of what theology was. This was the necessary concomitant of their effective education in social matters.70 The 65. H. Rashdall, 'The Ethics of Conscientious Objection', M.C., vi (1916-17), pp. 52-58. Rashdall was concerned to argue that conscientious objectors' arguments were mistaken, and to indicate the false moral and political principles which he felt to lie behind these errors, but he affirmed that the principle of loyalty to conscience was so important that it was desirable for the state, so far as it was safe to do so, to offer conscientious objectors alternative forms of national service. 66. Idem, The Problem of Evil' in The Faith and the War, pp. 87-88; editorial, M.C., v (1915-16), pp. 585-9; Oxford, Pusey House, Rashdall Sermons, HRA, A5 (1914-18): 'Tolerance' and 'The Church's Failures'. 67. The Churchmen's Union 'for the advancement of liberal religious thought' was inaugurated in October 1898. Rashdall was one of the vice-presidents from the start. Inge was also a prominent member. 68. Cf. M.C., vi (1916-17), p. 456. 69. J.K. Oliver, The Church and Social Order: Social Thought in the Church of England, 1918-1939 (London, 1968), pp. 48-52. Oliver implies that the thought of the report was inspired solely by the horrors of war. Clearly the war stimulated inquiry, but some of the thinking had begun before then. 70. H. Rashdall, 'Social Reform and the Education of the Clergy', Ec.R., viii (1898), pp. 44-57, at p. 45. This article was commended by the Guardian, 16 March 1898. See Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. c.345 (1898-99); cf. obituary in M.C.

Renewal of Christian Social Ethics, c. 1890-1920


laity demanded an intellectually coherent approach from the clergy, and the church would lose its position of influence in national life if it could not meet these demands.71 It was patronising and probably mistaken not to expect that this was as much the case amongst working men as amongst the professional classes.72 Liberal churchmen felt very strongly that theological colleges fostered an intensely ecclesiastical spirit, and felt that this was one important reason for the drifting apart of clergy and laity.73 Rashdall argued that there should be more faculties of theology at universities and that training colleges should be linked with these, so that clerical training was not isolated from the broader currents of intellectual life.74 Compared to the nonconformist churches, the Church of Scotland, and the churches of the continent, the Church of England offered a woefully inadequate theological training.75 Bishops' examinations for the diaconate demanded a knowledge which was at once very detailed and very elementary, 'much concerned with facts and opinions, and little with reasons or general ideas'. Philosophy of religion, the principles of Christian ethics, and instruction about social problems were all subjects usually omitted.76 When Rashdall was appointed canon of Hereford, his role was in part to join in the running of a (short-lived) experiment in reformed clerical education.77 The emphasis was not on producing scholars but on instilling the right habit of 71. H. Rashdall, 'Clerical Liberalism', in Anglican Liberalism by twelve churchmen (London, 1908), pp. 77-134, especially pp. 116, 126: 'the decline of church-going among educated laymen and the unwillingness of educated men to take orders advance together'. 72. Cf. 'The Coming Power', M.C., ii (1911-12), pp. 60-61. A reference was made to a meeting of clergy and laity of a New Zealand diocese with local Labour leaders to discuss why working men did not go to church. The Labour Party leader allegedly said that the real cause was that in the light of modern knowledge working men could not believe the theology which the church was still teaching. This factor was stressed as being more important than the possible stand-offishness of the clergy or the failure of the church to live up to the social morality of the Gospel. New Zealand at this period was taken as a topos of a small democracy, and was known both for the strength of its religious traditions amongst all classes and for the general interest in theological debate. See especially A. Siegfried, La, democratic en Nouvelle-Zelande (Paris, 1904), pp. 278-89. 73. H. Rashdall, 'Clerical Liberalism', p. 126. Cf. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. c.345, fos 184-89. 74. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. misc. c.589, fos 22-23. Rashdall's address to the Church Congress, 'The Relation of the Church to the New Universities' (1908). Rashdall commented that it was good that such a theological hall had been established at Manchester. 75. H. Rashdall, 'The School of the Prophets: Clerical Education', Cambridge Review, 28 February 1917, p. 260ff. Cf. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. c.349 (1917-19), fos 7 r-v. N.S. Talbot to Rashdall, 6 March 1917. Cf. Matheson, Rashdall, pp. 153, 158, 189, 234-47 on Rashdall's admiration for and cooperation with nonconformists; M.C., vii (1917-18), p. 101; cf. W. Ashley, 'A Layman's View of the Church's Ministry', ibid., vii (1917-18), pp. 280-95, at pp. 282, 285, where he argues that Anglican clergy could learn from nonconformists. Ashley also thought that ordinands should study something of the economic history of the country in order to be able to understand social problems: ibid., p. 294. 76. The Training of the Clergy: A Report Presented to the Council of the Churchmen's Union by the Very Rev. Hastings Rashdall, Rev. Canon Glazebrook and Rev. H.D.A. Major and Adopted by that Body on May 15 1917 (London, 1917), passim. Cf. W.O. Chadwick, The Founding of Cuddesdon (Oxford, 1954), pp. 132-33 on the slowness of change in the curriculum. 77. Matheson, Rashdall, p. 130-32; W. Temple, Life of Bishop Percival (1921), pp. 304-6.


Revival and Religion since 1700

mind, so that clergy could communicate fundamental truths effectively and respond flexibly to the problems felt by the laity. The Principal of Wells Theological College, who wrote to Rashdall (as a stranger) in 1909, having read his Theory of Good and Evil, agreed that 'the clergy . . . tend to get too much superstructure, and far too little foundation, while the real problems in men's minds today are the fundamental theistic ones and ethical ones'. His own rather unintellectual students — 'passmen, and some bad passmen' — most of whom only came to the college for four terms, found themselves troubled by metaphysical questions, even though they barely had any conception of what 'metaphysic' meant.78 Study was for Rashdall the prerequisite of action. This was a recognition of the creative power of doubt, allied to a belief in the force of rational questioning. This spirit of questioning was to be extended to the laity. This was of course the initial — and, for Rashdall, the continuing — rationale of the C.S.U. Rashdall also tried to encourage the organisation of lectures and classes by universities.79 He lectured at the Oxford Summer School of Theology, and at meetings of university extension students.80 He was invited by Samuel Barnett to address Toynbee Hall in a series aiming to present 'to the thinking people the Xian truth in the light of modern scientific and historic knowledge'.81 In Carlisle, as President of the local W.E.A., he gave lectures on political philosophy.82 He urged the holding of lectures or conversation classes in parishes to discuss controversial works of theology. He was aware that he could be seen as laying too much stress on rational argument and on intellectual propositions.83 When he discussed the limitations of casuistry in The Theory of Good and Evil he recognised explicitly that the complexity of the ethical end is so great that it can often be best represented by a concrete personal example.84 Christ's life was the ultimate embodiment of this truth. The form of an ethical system was as important as its substance. Stoic philosophy, despite containing the main elements of the Sermon on the Mount, had not had the same effects: it had not created a religion.85 Rashdall's lectures, Conscience and Christ, delivered in America in 1913 and published in 1916, were a popular synthesis of his attempts to resolve the questions raised by the

78. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. c.361, fos 106-8. H.L. Goudge to Rashdall, 19 January 1909. 79. M.C., iii (1913-14), pp. 282-83. 80. E.g., ibid., ii (1912-13), pp. 72-73. 81. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. c.346 (1903-4), fos 160-61 v. Samuel Barnett to Rashdall, 10 August 1904. 82. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. misc. a.16, fol 157ff. 83. H. Rashdall, 'Religion and History', Liberal Churchman, iii (1907), p. 23. The example of a controversial book which Rashdall used was R.J. Campbell's The New Theology (1907), the impulse behind which Rashdall had some sympathy with, but which he felt had major flaws which needed to be discussed. 84. Idem, The Theory of Good and Evil, ii, p. 434. 85. Idem, Conscience and Christ, pp. 245-52; cf. idem, 'Christian Citizenship', The Churchman 3 March 1900.

Renewal of Christian Social Ethics, c. 1890-1920


relationship between the moral philosopher's precept to follow conscience and the preacher's injunction to follow Christ. The moral philosopher still had a role in helping to tease out developments of Christian ethics in increasingly complex human circumstances.86 T.S. Eliot, deep in his own search for religious revival, for mystical experience and religious emotion, disillusioned with logic and critical of religious liberalism, attacked this book, accusing Rashdall of a circular argument by which the teaching of Jesus was gradually assimilated to the conscience of the enlightened middle classes. The principle of ethical development certainly opened the way to such an interpretation, but Eliot's sarcasm that 'certain saints found the following of Jesus very hard, but modern methods have facilitated everything' was in particular a product of his own attempt to free himself from the enlightened Unitarianism of his family.87 There was a place for each emphasis — for the following of a Kempis as of Aquinas.88 Rashdall certainly did not pursue a facile progressivism. In his view, the development of ethical possibilities left fewer excuses for failure to confront them, and made greater demands on Christian self-sacrifice. All his teaching was dedicated to denying the incompatibility of the ethical and the transcendental.89 Rashdall received a letter from H.L. Stewart in Canada commending Conscience and Christ as opportune in helping a church class of professional and business people 'whose orthodoxy has been somewhat disturbed' to discuss problems of New Testament morality.90 Other letters to Rashdall over the years indicate how his spiritual theism, forged precisely to avoid ethical humanitarianism, had been welcomed as offering a way out of tendencies to unitarianism and agnosticism. Walter Wragge, rector of Haslemere, wrote to Rashdall in the wake of the Girton Conference of 1921 after which Rashdall had been attacked as a heretic. Wragge recalled his curacy with Samuel Barnett in Whitechapel in the 1890s, when I could not get very much further theologically than the position of Green's Lay Sermons. It was your book [Doctrine and Development — Rashdall's University Sermons, published in 1898] that showed me that it was quite

86. Cf. idem, Conscience and Christ, pp. 224-25; The Theory of Good and Evil, ii, p. 438. 87. T.S. Eliot, review of H. Rashdall, Conscience and Christ, International Journal of Ethics, xxvii (1917), pp. 111-12. See also L. Gordon, Eliot's Early Years (Oxford, 1977), pp. 58-71. Compare H. Rashdall, 'Review of Mr Balfour's Theism and Humanism', M.C., v (1915-16), 623-38. 88. Cf. H. Rashdall, Conscience and Christ, p. 219. 89. Ibid., preface. 90. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. c.349 (1917-19), fol 10. H.L. Stewart to Rashdall, 6 March 1917. The book was recommended as the preparatory text for the Churchmen's Union Conference on Ethics in 1916; M.C., vi (1916-17), p. 176. Cf. Alfred Fawkes' review, ibid., pp. 225-29, at p. 229: 'It is because Rashdall has had in mind the needs of ... [a] larger public that Conscience and Christ has a more than denominational importance, and will be classed by serious readers among the "books that count".'


Revival and Religion since 1700

philosophically respectable to be a genuine and definite Theist and to pray simply to a Person.91

An effusive correspondent of 1899 said that Doctrine and Development had saved him from 'barren Unitarianism'. He described the impact of the book as 'a revelation from the Holy Spirit, enabling him to see the way to a wholly new Christian and Catholic Idealist philosophy'.92 In 1910, RashdalPs Philosophy and Religion was described as having brought an agnostic parishioner back to communion.93 Two years later a Japanese pastor wrote asking permission to publish his translation of this book in Japanese.94 Perhaps the letter which would most have pleased Rashdall was one from Henry Morris in Maidstone, who had read Moral Sciences at Cambridge and then had decided to go into education rather than being ordained. He described his work as being mostly with day continuation schools, further education and juvenile employment. The Theory of Good and Evil serves as textbook for a course of lectures which I am giving at Tonbridge and Rochester for the WEA on The Ethics of Social Reform. My thesis is that the important things about Social Reform are the ethical presuppositions, and that these latter involve a theistic metaphysic . . . The working-men, many of them ardently anti-church begin to stare when they find themselves being led back to Christian Theism.95

91. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. d.363 (1922-27), fos 13-15. Walter Wragge to Rashdall, February 1922. Wragge found Rashdall's Christological sermons and the sermon on the Church 'something to rest on during all the mental disquiet of being alternately attracted and repelled by the books of Bishop Gore during those years'. Cf. Oxford, New College Library, Rashdall Papers, News Cuttings: Church Times, 18 July 1913. 92. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. c.345 (1898-99), fos 264-72 v. E. Egerton Swann to Rashdall, 14 November 1899. 93. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. c.347 (1910-14), fos 9-10 v, 7 June 1910; cf. MS Eng. lett. c. 351, fos 35 v-36: an undated letter from W.J. Ferrar saying that Rashdall's sermons had brought the correspondent's father to communion for the first time since his childhood. 94. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. c.347 (1910-14), fos 42-43. Yojiro Kami to Rashdall, 24 July 1912. 95. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. lett. c.350 (1920-21), fos 107-8. Henry Moore to Rashdall, 23 November 1920.

Index Abbey, Charles J. 79, 80, 84-87, 92 Abelard, Peter 301 Aberdeen 24, 31 Acland, A. H. D. 119,122,124 —, SirT. D. 117,122,123 Adams, Benjamin 135, 152 —, John Quincey 138 Adare, Lord 124, 125 agnostics 87 Agra 184 Akenside, Mark 24, 37 Albury Park 108, 110 Alcott, Louisa May 209, 221 Aldenham 166 All Saints', Margaret Street, see London almshouses 63 America 51, 55, 204, 208, 237 American Sunday School Union 132 Anabaptists 202 Angels with Dirty Faces 262 Anglo-Catholics, see Tractarians Anstice, Joseph 113-14,117 Antichrist 104-5, 109, 141ff anticatholicism 1,18,103,108-11 antimasonry 138 antinominianism 8 antislavery 98, 99, 109, 152, 209, 210, 237, 277, 292 Apostolic Succession 102 Appalachia, Southern 138ff Aquinas, Thomas St 301n., 304, 308, 315 Arch, Joseph 209, 222 architecture 153—80 Arians 86, 91 aristocracy 81 Aristotle 53, 113, 308, 310 Arminianism 36, 101, 140 —, Arminian-Wesleyans 101, 127ff, 144 Arndt, Johann 49 Arnold, Gottfried 49, 50, 53 —, Matthew 220 Arthur, William 174, 175 Arts-and-Crafts movement 178, 230 Ashby, Joseph 223

Ashley-Cooper, see Shaftesbury atheism 21ff, 48, 89 atonement 284ff Augsburg Confession 50 autobiography 53—54, 209

Baden-Powell, Robert 236 Baillie Scott, M. H. 237 Baker, Daniel 135 Ball, J. L. 166 Balliol College, see Oxford Baltimore Conference 134 Bank of England 158 baptism 113, 139-40, 150 —, mock baptism 143 Baptists 43, 101, 132ff, 149ff, 166, 169, 220, 287 —, embarrassment of women by 150 —, in U.S.A. 127ff, 139 Barnabas, St 120ff Barnett, Samuel 314, 315 Basel 52 Bath 15 Baxter, Richard 3, 4, 19 Beale, Dorothea 217 Beazley 158 Behmenists 50 Belfast 184 Belgravia 175ff Bell, John 152 Bellarmine, St Robert 5 Benson, Edward White 284 Berg, duchy of 41 Berkeley, George, bishop of Cloyne 22, 23, 81, 82, 90, 301n. Bernieres-Louvigny, Jean de 48 Berulle, Pierre de 11 Besant, Annie 229, 240, 245-46 Beveridge, William 239 Bhagavad-Gita 247 Bible 13, 16, 30, 32, 37, 59, 62, 69, 103-4, 206, 228, 232, 274, 292, 293, 301, 307, 314



Revival and Religion since 1700

—, Apocrypha 50 —, I Corinthians 9 —, II Corinthians 69 —, Daniel 104ff —, Genesis 38 —, Leviticus 77 —, Matthew 69, 114-15, 310 —, Old Testament 50, 228, 233, 242, 293-4 —, Psalms 117 —, Revelation 104ff —, Romans 292 Bickersteth, Edward 110 Bildungsroman 214 biography 1-19, 53-54, 210-216 Birmingham 166, 289 Black Beauty 222 Blackburn 220 Blacklock, Thomas 24 Blatchford, Robert 230, 243, 244 Blavatsky, Madame 245, 246 Bliss, Thomas 193 Blomfield, C. J., bishop of London 119 Bloomer, Amelia Jenks 235 boarding schools 118ff Boehm, Anthony William 17, 18 Bohme, Jakob 51,52 Booth, William 239-40, 242 Bosanquet, Bernard 303, 306n., 310 Bossuet, Jacques-Benigne 52 Boston (Massachusetts) 257ff Bourignon, Antoinette 52, 53 bowls 223 Bradford 198, 229, 287 Bradlaugh, Charles 216 Bradley, G. G. 276 —, Herbert 303, 306 Brett, Robert 124, 125 Brewster, Patrick 293 Bridgewater treatises 100 Bridgwater 15 Bright, John 220 Brink, Mathias 44 British Israelites 105 broad church 85, 103, 112, 239 Brompton Cemetery, see cemeteries; London Brooklyn 258 Brothers, Richard 105 Brown, Ford Madox 214 —, John 60 Brownlow, William Gannaway 138—48, 150, 151, 152 Bryant, Sophie 234 Buchanan, James 131 Building News 167

Bulteel, Henry 112-14 Bunhill Fields, see cemeteries; London Bunting, Jabez 157 Bunyan, John 58, 206, 208, 209, 216, 223 burials 183-200 Burial Acts (1852 and 1855) 184 —, Amendment (1880) 195,224 burial disputes 193-96, 257 Burke, Edmund 86, 91 Burn, Richard 190, 192-3 Burnet, Gilbert 2, 3, 85, 88, 90 Burns, John 226-27 Buss, Frances Mary 234 Busskampf 48, 58 Butler, Dick 252-53 —, Joseph 81, 82, 86, 88, 90, 91, 301n., 303 —, Josephine 238 —, Henry Montagu 299 Butterfield, Herbert 80 —, William 125 Buttlar, Eva von 46n. Byron, George Gordon, Lord 13, 208 Caird, Edward 287-88 Calcutta, 184ff —, cemeteries, see cemeteries, Calcutta Caledonian Chapel, see London Callahan, Jack 257-58 Callisthenics 233 Calvinism 36, lOlff, 112ff, 140, 144-45, 203ff, 227 Calvinistic Magazine 145, 148 Cambridge, university of 89, 91, 96, 189, 212, 297, 316 —, Sidney Sussex 89 —, Trinity 212 Campbell, Robert 124, 125 Canada 315 Candy, Thomas 89 capitalism 183-200 Carlyle, Jane Welsh 106 —, Thomas 83, 96, 206, 210, 211, 213-16, 219, 220, 222, 233, 275, 282, 283 Carlyleanism 81 Carmelites 42ff Carpenter, Edward 230, 235 Carpenters' Company 158, 166, 178 Carter, Elizabeth 24 —, John 308 Cartwright, Peter 132 Castaniza, Juan de 5 catechism 27, 48 Catholic, see Roman Catholicism Catholic Apostolic Church 95-110

Index cemeteries 183-200 —, Agra (India) 184 —, Bradford 198 —, Brompton 184, 191, 197, 198 —, Bunhill Fields 193 —, Calcutta, Park Street 184, 188 —, —, St John's 188n. —, Glasgow 189, 192 —, —, Fir Street 197 —, Highgate 199 —, Hull 199 —, Kensal Green 184, 188 —, Leeds 198, 199 —, Liverpool, Low Hill Necropolis 198 —, Newcastle on Tyne 191 —, Norwood 192 —, Northampton 200 —, Nunhead 192, 198 —, Surat (India) 184 —, Undercliffe 189, 191, 192 —, Westgate Hill 195 —, Woking 192 —, see also parish, churchyards, burials Centenary Hall, see London Chalmers, Thomas 96, 100 Chamberlain, Joseph 220 charity 17, 6Iff, 119ff Charity Organisation Society 240 Charles I 207, 212, 217, 218, 219 Charles II 218, 219 Chartist Circular 210 Chelsea Building Society 160, 167 Cheltenham Ladies College 217 Chevalier, Jakob 57 Christ Church, see Oxford Christ Church, Virginia Water 160, 163 Christian Social Union 274, 284, 291, 294, 297ff, 305ff Christian Socialism 273-95, 297-316 Christianity, Primitive 15, 19 Church of England 3ff, 22, 79ff, 111-26, 167, 184, 204, 224, 241, 280, 297-316 —, Christian socialism and 273ff, 297ff Church Missionary Society 96 Church Quarterly Review 308 Church of Scotland 95-6, 313 Churchmen's Union 312 Civil War, the English 201ff Clapham Sect 89, 96, 99-100, 102, 105ff, 299n. Clarendon, Edward Hyde, earl of 205, 206 Clark, Samuel (1684-1750) 30 Clarke, Adam 11,157 —, Samuel (1599-1683) 3, 4,19n


—, Samuel (1675-1729) 85, 90, 91 class, ruling 62 classical dialogues 28ff, 34ff classical moralists 26-27, 30, 34 —, see also Plato; Aristotle Clay, Henry 130, 133, 142, 144, 146, 151 clergy, social activities of 261ff Clifford, John 216, 283-84, 287, 292, 295 Clock Chase 164 Coleridge, John Duke 124 —,John T. 123, 124, 125 —, Samuel Taylor 98, 103, 208, 274 Coley, J. 193 Collins, Anthony 88, 89 colonies 65 —, cemeteries in 190ff Commons, House of 121 Commonwealth 3, 201-47 Comte, Auguste 274, 284 —, Comtists, see positivism Condren, Charles de 11 Confederacy 152 Congregationalists 160, 175, 178, 212, 235, 239, 287 Connolly, James 255 Conrad, Joseph 228 consumerism 60 consumption, changing habits of 62, 71 Contagious Diseases Acts 238, 292 Contemporary Review 280, 286, 287ff Continental Society 106 conversion 44, 58, 99, 114ff, 139, 155, 157 Copleston, Edward 278 Coram, Thomas 64 Corrigan, Michael Augustine 259, 260, 263 Counter-Reformation Iff, 18-19, 54, 83 Country Life 178 Court of Arches 190-91 Covenanters 203, 214 Cowper, William 208 Crabbe, George 205 cricket 193 crime 65, 66ff Cromwell, Oliver 202, 205, 207, 210, 211, 213-16, 217, 218, 221, 222, 223, 228 Cubitt, James 166 —, Thomas 167, 175 Cunningham, Father 262 —, William 280-81, 292 Dale, Robert William 274, 284, 287, 289 Darby, J. N. 98,110 Darwin, Charles 228 Davidson, A. B. 293

Revival and Religion since 1700


Dawson, George 216, 217 De Renty, see Renty De Quincey, Thomas 212 death 10-11, 13-14, 107, 179-80, 182ff Defoe, Daniel 204, 217 Degge, Simon 195 deism 23ff, 86ff, 100 Democrats 127ff, 142ff, 270-71, 282 Despard, Charlotte 229, 246 Diary of a Churchgoer 310 Dicey, A. V. 292 Dickens, Charles 218-19 Dictionary of National Biography 36, 87n. Dissenters 82, 101, 194 divorce 212, 237 Doddridge, Philip 25, 30, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36 Dodsworth, Rev. William 118, 125 Drummond, Henry 108 Dublin 21 Duffy, Francis 262 Dungannon, Lord 159 Dutch Reformed Church 43

East India Company 188ff Ecce Homo 289, 300 Ecclefechan 95 Ecclesiologist 199 Economic Review 301,307-8 Eddy, Daniel C. 132 —, Thomas 130 Edgehill, battle of (1642) 223 Edinburgh 115, 124 Edinburgh Review 209, 211 education 25ff, 34, 44, 52, 110, 151, 206-7, 292, 309, 312-16 —, Catholic, in New York 265ff Edwards, Jonathan 42, 44, 273 Egremont, Lord 159, 162, 170 Elberfeld 42 election campaigns, in U.S.A. 130ff Eliot, George 101, 206 —, Thomas Stearns 315 Elizabethton (Tennessee) 140 Elliott, Charles 131 Ellis, Havelock 237 Emlyn, Henry 155 Emory, Robert 134 Engagement, The 119-26 English Church Union 124 enlightenment 14, 74, 76, 96, 100, 107, 204, 209

enthusiasm 5, 6, 21-39, 41-42, 57, 203, 205 Epictetus 26, 27, 28, 34

Epicureanism 27, 89 Erastians 203 Erskine of Linlathen, Thomas 101, 103, 113 Essays and Reviews 87, 285 Eton 11 Iff, 155 evangelicalism 21-39, 86, 88, 92, 95ff, 111-26, 127ff, 218, 273ff, 276-7, 290-91, 292, 299 —, in U.S.A. 127-52 —, relation to politics of 98ff, 136ff Evelyn, John 187 Exeter Hall, see London Fabians 230, 234, 241-42, 295 Fairbairn, Andrew Martin 284, 287 Falklands War 108 family 99, 113 Farmer, Thomas 160 Fasque 121 fasting 15 Fawcett, Millicent 232 Fee, William 134 Fell, John 4 feminism 238ff Fenelon, Francois de Salignac de la Mothe 2, 34, 52 Ferrers, John 196 Fielding, Henry 60, 66-68, 69, 71, 74, 77, 82 Fifth Monarchy Men 107 Finney, Charles 152 First World War 209, 264, 311-12 Firth, Charles 205, 206, 221 Fletcher, John 18,19 Flood, William 249 Fonthill Abbey 160, 163 food riots 72 Fordyce, David 24, 25, 31, 34, 35, 38, 39 Forster, Nathaniel 74-76 Forsthoff, Heinrich 42 Fort, Jacob 134 Fourier, Francois Charles M. 280, 283 Foxe, John 18,208 France 42, 45, 83 Francis Xavier, St 6 Francke, August Hermann 44, 45, 48, 58 Francois de Sales, St 2, 5 Fremont, John C. 136,152 French Revolution 95, 98, 105, 213, 282-3, 295

Frere, James Hatley 106 Friedrich zu Castell am Main, Count Ludwig 57n. Froude, James Anthony 80-84, 92 —, Richard Hurrell 81

Index Fuller, Thomas 205 fundamentalism 110

Gallonio, Antonio 2, 3, 4 Gandhi, M. K. 246, 247 Garden City Movement 235, 237 Gardiner, S. R. 206, 217, 221 George, Henry 273, 274 Georgia 48, 52 German thought 49ff, 83, 213, 303 Germany 41-58 Gibbon, Edward 79, 85, 91 Gierke, Otto von 310 Gilbert's Act (1782) 68 Gill, John 149 Girton Conference 315 Gladstone, Anne 114, 116 —, Helen 117 —, William Ewart 102, 111-26 passim, 170, 216, 220, 221, 223 Glasgow 24, 184, 189, 197, 287 gleaning 65, 77-78 Gleeson, John 249 Glenalmond, Trinity College 119 Glenridge 164, 173-74, 177 Glorious Revolution 204-5, 206-7 Godwin, William 73n. Good Old Cause 203 Gordon Riots 1 Gore, Charles 274, 289, 305-6, 307, 310 Gorham Case 123-26 Gothic architecture 169, 180, 189 Grand Tour 37 Graves, James R. 145-6 Gray, Thomas 192, 200, 204 greed, prevalence of 74ff Green, J. R. 203,213,220 —, Thomas Hill 227, 230, 288, 289-92, 301n., 302-3, 306, 315 Guardian 124 Guildford 169-70 Guizot, Francois Pierre G. 206 Guyon, Madame 1, 48, 52, 53 Habitat 201 Haddan, Thomas 123, 124 hagiography 3ff, 18, 92 Haldane, Alexander 101 Hale, Matthew 2, 66, 68 Halevy, Elie 200, 209, 273, 295 Hall, Westley 8, 10 Hallam, Arthur 112,117 Hamilton, Walter Kerr 117


Hanoverian theology 80ff, 93, 112 Hanway, Jonas 70, 71n. Hardie, Keir 228, 242-43 Hardwick, Thomas 158 Hardy, Thomas 206, 232 Harlem 261, 268-69 Harris, Howel 96 Harrison, Benjamin 117 —, Frederic 274, 285 —, William 133, 136, 137, 144 Harrow on the Hill (Middlesex) 191 Hartcliffe, John 62 Havelock, Henry 220 Hawthorne, Nathaniel 208 Hayes, Patrick 260, 261 Hazeland, William 60 Headlam, Stewart 274 Hegehanism 303 Heidelberg Catechism 48 Hellenes 201 Hemming, Alfred D. 181 Henson, Hensley 306-7,311 Herder, Johann Gottfried von 283 Hereford 313-14 —, Cathedral 285 Hemans, Felicia 208 Hertford College see Oxford Hertford, countess of 24, 25 Hervey, James 18, 25, 36-39 —, Lord 86 Herzfeld, Elsa 253, 266, 267, 268 heterodoxy 25 High Wycombe (Bucks.) 155 high church 2, 4, 7, 80, 84, 87, 90, 92, 101, 102, 108, 117, 199, 203, 218, 239, 275, 278, 279, 284, 289, 298 Hill, John 113 —, Octavia 234 Hinde, William 4 Hoadly, Benjamin 85 —, Hoadlyism 117 Hochmann von Hochenau 47, 48 Hocking, Silas K. 239 Hoffmann, Wilhelm 48, 56 Hogarth, William 64 Holborn Hill, see London Holland, Henry Scott 274, 289-91 Hooker, Richard 102 Hope, James (later Hope-Scott) 119, 125 Hopkins, Gerard Manley 290 Horace 26, 27, 37 Horche, Heinrich 47 Horsley, Samuel 105 hospitality 61, 62ff


Revival and Religion since 1700

Houses of Mercy 119 Howard League for Penal Reform 292 Hughes, Hugh Price 216, 232, 282, 284, 289-90, 291, 292, 294, 295 Hull 199 humanitarianism 283ff Hume, David 70, 74, 82, 91, 203, 205, 206, 208, 213 Huntingdon, countess of 36 Huntingtonians 194 Hutcheson, Francis 24, 31 Hyde, Edward, earl of Clarendon, see Clarendon hygiene 186ff, 232-5 hymns 48, 55, 56, 99, 124, 244

Kemp v. Wickes 194 Kempis, Thomas a, St, 5, 18, 49, 300n., 301, 315 Kenny, Monsignor 262 Kensal Green Cemetery, see cemeteries; London Kerr, James 147 King's College, see London Kingsley, Charles 174, 275, 293 Kipling, Rudyard 228 Knights of Columbus 259 Know-Nothings 151-2 Knox, John 209-10, 214 Konig, Samuel 47 Kuypers, Gerardus 57

idealism 287ff, 298ff, 302-6 idleness 66ff imperialism 227 incarnationalism 283ff Ince, Peter 3 Independent Labour Party 229, 241-43 Indian Mutiny 220 Indian National Congress 245 Industrial Revolution 184, 185 inequality 278ff Inge, W. R. 297, 298, 304, 305, 306, 311 Ireland 9, 92, 100 —, Church of 22 Irving, Edward 95-110 passim

Labadists 43, 46, 47, 56 Labour Leader 240-41 Labour Representation Committee 217 Labour Party 241, 243ff Lacunza y Diaz, Manuel de 108, 110 laissez-faire 73, 102, 107, 110, 142, 282 Land League 255 Langham Place Circle 237 Lark Rise to Candleford 223 latitudinarianism 25, 85ff, 212-213 Lauderdale, Josiah 149 Lavington, George 18 Law, Edmund 91 —, William 7, 13, 75, 86, 300 Lawton, John W. 147 lay societies 7, 44 Leathersellers' Hall, see London Lecky, W. E. H. 79, 80, 89-90, 92 Leeds 179, 198, 199, 214n, 217 —, Leeds Times 211 Leibniz, G. W. 279 Leicester Working Men's College 289 Leiden 52 Leigh, J. 147 Leland, John 21,22,23,25 Leslie, Charles 86 Levellers 203ff, 215ff Lewis, William 146 Lexington (Virginia) 130 liberalism 84, 103, 107, 123-24, 126, 169-70, 216, 220ff, 226, 299ff Liberty, Arthur 235 Liddon, Henry Parry 291 Lincoln, Abraham 131 Lincoln College, see Oxford Lincoln's Inn, see London Liverpool 110, 114 Local Preachers' Mutual Aid Society 170

Jackson, Andrew 138, 141, 143, 146 Jacobites 83, 112 Jansenism 2ff Japan 316 Jenyns, Soame 60 Jesuits 6, 108, 109, 259 Jesus Christ 6, 12, 15, 32, 39, 55, 58, 101, 102, 103, 107, 135, 228, 242, 285-7, 289, 291, 294, 295, 300, 302, 310, 314-5 Jews 50, 108 Johnson, Samuel 10,63,204,211 Jones, G. R. 133 —, William 189-90 journals, Gladstone's 111-26 —, Wesley's 14ff, 39 Jung-Stilling, Johann Heinrich 49, 50 Jurieu, Pierre 45, 46 Kant, Immanuel 41 Keble,John 119-20,122,124,125 Keeble, Samuel 294-95 Keightley, T. 218, 219

Index Locke, John 84, 88, 90 Loftus, Father 257 London 65, 95ff, 115, 117ff, 154ff —, All Saints', Margaret Street 118ff —, Brompton Cemetery 184, 191, 197, 198 —, Bunhill Fields 193 —, Caledonian Chapel 95-96 —, Carpenters' Hall 169 —, Centenary Hall 160-61, 170 —, Exeter Hall 215, 279-80 —, Holborn Hill 159 —, Kensal Green Cemetery 184, 188 —, King's College 166-67 —, Leathersellers' Hall 158, 159 —, Lincoln's Inn 19, 36 —, Margaret Chapel 118ff —, Memorial Hall, Farringdon Road 241 —, Paddington, parish 187 —, Pimlico 175ff —, Ranelagh Chapel 160 —, St James's Chapel 196 —, St Martin in the Fields 118, 187 —, St Mary, Newington Butts 187 —, St Pancras 196 —, St Paul's Cathedral, Churchyard 187 —, Trevor